PJV Quickie: The narrative style in BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA clashed with my expectations of this YA Horror debut from April Genevieve Tucholke. What scares awaited readers were overshadowed by verbose explanations of backstory, setting, and the mannerisms of the characters surrounding the dialogue. This writing style might work in literary fiction, but it’s poison to horror.
Review: BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA was my most anticipated book of 2013. It has an amazing cover, has an interesting premise, and is in my favorite genre (YA Horror). I thought that it would not live up to the hype, so I waited to read it. I let it sit on my bookshelf and allowed it to marinate for months until I finally thought my expectations had settled enough to give it a fair shot.
I’m glad I waited. I’m even happier that someone bought it for me – it’s simply not worth the price.
Somewhere deep inside the redundant narrative is a story about the devil and magic powers. The storyline reminds me of V A Andrews books. It’s not scary, but it is unnerving. The characters are flawed and hard to like. Violet’s only friends, Sunshine and Violet’s brother, are more tormentors than confidences, and it’s impossible to see why Violet puts up with the negativity from them.
The narrative is distracting. There’s too many adjectives and too many descriptions. The repetitiveness makes the reader know exactly what she means, but I can only handle so much side story before I get distracted and stop reading. Some people might like this style of narrative, but it didn’t work for me. It bored me. Get to the freaking point already!
— River didn’t seem to notice. And by that, I mean he seemed to be noticing everything about me, and everything about the room, so that I couldn’t tell if he noticed my use of hence more than anything else.
— River shook Luke’s hand. I noticed that Luke was several inches taller than River, which surprised me, since I remember River being really tall. Or did I? No, when I first saw him, I thought he was very not-tall. Average. River had grown a foot in my mind, just in the last hour.
Ultimately my mind heard Sarah Palin as the narrator. I can’t figured out exactly why, however it ruined whatever appreciation I might have had for the book otherwise. While Sarah Palin might give John McCain nightmares for single-handedly ruining his chance in the oval office, she’s not quite the boogey man from my dreams.
There were a couple of issues with plausibility. For one, the seventeen-year-olds didn’t attend school. I don’t understand how this would go under the radar in a small town. The fact that her parents thought it was okay to drop them off with an elderly grandmother and not check up on them for YEARS was bizarre. I’m fairly certain that the legal system would have steped into the picture, especially after the grandmother died. This plot device (to make the kids live on their own) resolved anticlimactically at the end of the book, which made me think it was a completely bogus situation.
If not for the rambling narrative, I might have actually liked BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. There were scenes in the story that exposed glimpses of the author’s ability to write horror and scare the beejezus out of readers. Too few, in my opinion, for me to recommend this book to others.