Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

April Genevieve Tucholke. Dial, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3889-8
Tucholke debuts with a thoroughly eerie novel set in a quintessential horror-story location: a quaint Maine town. Violet White and her 17-year-old twin brother are living in the dilapidated glory of their family’s coastal estate while their parents traipse Europe. To help pay the bills, Violet places an ad for a boarder for their guesthouse; it’s quickly answered by River West, a mysterious boy who cannily avoids giving straight answers about his past. Violet doesn’t typically pay boys much mind, but she’s soon spending the night with River, both drawn to and wary of him. The enigma of who or what River is pulls readers through the story with steady, unsettling momentum, especially as frightening visions and events pile up (at one point, the town’s children form a ragtag army, ready to battle the Devil with wooden stakes) and family secrets come to light. Tucholke luxuriates in the details of small-town life, including her characters’ gourmand tendencies and their quick-witted interactions, in a chilling supernatural exploration of free will and reality’s fluidity. Ages 14–up. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 08/15/2013
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