Violet and her brother Luke are old money but the money has run out. They’re living in a crumbling mansion while their flighty artist parents are in Europe. To make some extra money Violet puts up an add to rent out the guest house, River West answers that add and suddenly Violets life is changed and so is the entire town.
I loved just how creepy this novel was. I was always trying to figure out what was happening and all signs constantly pointed back to River being behind all of the strange happenings around town. River is a lovely, wealthy, liar who makes Violet feel so at ease. I never trusted him because I don’t think Violet ever does. While she likes him there is just something off about River and as the novel progresses I liked that Violet knew to keep her distance even if she wasn’t sure she wanted to.
I immediately liked Violet. She is quirky, while still remaining rather dark. She was completely unapologetic about the way she acts and how she thinks. At times I felt Violet was rather judgment, especially regarding her friend Sunshine, but you can tell she has a good heart. I also liked the way she keeps her grandmother, who everyone including Violet calls, Frankie alive in her memory. Even though Frankie was never in the story I felt like I knew her through Violet.
Tucholke excels at writing dysfunctional sibling relationships. Violet and Luke are twins and one second it feels like they hate each other but the next you can tell just how much they truly care about one another. The dynamics just feel real and the sibling relationships between Violet and Luke as well as between River and Neely became one of my favorite aspects of the story.
My one gripe with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is that I found the ending to be a bit of a cop out. I wanted it to be so much creepier then it actually was. If Tucholke had taken the novel to its natural conclusion it would have been dark, terrible, and I would have loved every word. Instead things wrap up rather nicely and none of our main characters are forced to be the bad guy.
Overall, despite the ending I still really enjoyed Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It was creepy, whimsical, and I enjoyed all of the old movie references. I will definitely be picking up the sequel, 2014 can’t get here fast enough.