Thursday, May 22, 2014

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea Review

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published:  August 15, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads: You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I fully admit to buying this book solely because the cover is amazing. It is probably my favorite cover of all the books I currently own. It's haunting and mysterious and I love that if you look closely on top of the cliff you find the silhouette of a couple who could either be dancing or leading each other off the edge. (Personally, I don't think the cover for The Spark and the Burn is nearly as pretty.) However, that is right about where my love for this book ends. The plot itself is pretty decent as far as plots go: Girl from a family of old money has run out of money and decides to rent out the guest house; boy who moves in is mysterious and dangerous. Not that terrible and overall promising if executed properly. Nevertheless, get ready for a partial rant-review...

"His name is River West," Sunshine slipped in. "And Violet's decided she's going to be mad as a hatter in love with him."
"That's not remotely true," I said looking at her with my penetrating, know-it-all gaze. "That couldn't be less true."
But Sunshine was dead right, and we both knew it."
- Chapter 3, pg. 24-25

Violet just met River and she's already decided that she's going to be in love with him and not for any other reason then because she's simply decided it. At this point in the story she's know him for all of five minutes. She didn't even ask for ID when he rented out her guesthouse. She simply took his cash and gave him a tour. Major flaunting of lack of common sense there. It actually ached in my chest to read just how lacking common sense was among these characters sometimes.

This is just one example of why I did not like the characters in this book. My major problem with this book is the amount of sexual flaunting that's littered across these pages. Sunshine is constantly wagging her hips or showing her thighs or revealing cleavage. It's terrible and Violet isn't much better. Sure, she dresses more conservatively than Sunshine but seriously, she's sleeping with a guy she just met all curled up like they've known each other forever. She lets River touch her and caress her even though she knows he's dangerous. She knows he is the reason behind Sunshine seeing Blue and Luke seeing True and she doesn't care that he's almost literally scaring her friends and family to death. She just lets him go about his business because he's hot and she doesn't try too hard to stop him. Not to mention he keeps giving her money. I know it's supposedly because River knows she needs it for groceries and such but really, it's more like he's paying her for her affections. And it's not just Violet and Sunshine. Luke is a known womanizer constantly flexing his muscles because it gets him noticed, gets him girls, and gets him laid.

Twilight scenario in the making here (just with art/art history allusions rather than Austen and other classic literature) and I don't like it. What kind of message are authors trying to give to impressionable teenagers? That in order to get a guy/girl to love you you have to flaunt your body? That's not okay. It's everything that's wrong with modern advertising. The not-too-subtle message that girls have to be a size 0 with a large chest and hips and guys have to be totally ripped. It's not okay.

Also, the idea of a female character being so infatuated with a guy that she immediately has fallen for that her proper judgment flies out the window and she finds herself needing him isn't okay either. Love as a drug that becomes an addiction is a bad, bad metaphor. Independence, ladies! You are strong, intelligent, and beautiful no matter what pant size you are and you do not need a man to shape who you are. Same idea goes for you there too, gents!

End rant. Last comment though: I haven't decided if I'm going to read The Spark and the Burn when it comes out this summer (though I doubt it but sometimes curiosity is a morbid thing) but if Violet falls for Neely - River's brother - in River's absence as hinted I might just have to throw my book out the window and I won't be sorry about it.

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