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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (1 star)

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Mini-reviews are tweaked versions of reviews I wrote before starting the blog. It's a good way to show some love to older books (and keep me from panicking when I slack off and don't have anything new). The originals remain on Goodreads (unless it was, like, one sentence), and the new reviews get posted here in between reviews of books I'm currently reading. How to tell them apart? The mini-reviews get this cool intro paragraph. :)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: Between #1
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Published on August 15, 2013
Published by Dial
Final Rating: 1 star
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.

I don't know where to start. In many ways this story reminded me of Twilight. Warning: spoilers and/or sarcasm ahead.

The characters felt like cardboard cutouts. Violet and her brother are down and out blue bloods whose artist parents who have left them home alone for the summer with no money. Violet has snobby thoughts about her town, vintage and European tastes, and an attraction to River. River is the mysterious, also vintage, boarder who instantly falls in love with Violet and seems to be hiding a big secret.

The plot is....well, to sum it up: River is mysterious. River is a brainwasher. River is a murderer. River is a super rich brainwashing murderer. River is a super rich brainwashing murderer and stalker. Violet's still in love. O.O This is where the Twilight comparisons ran rampant and I felt like starting a bonfire. Seriously, River is brainwashing Violet to like him, sleep next to him and (almost) to have sex with him. After finding out he is brainwashing her, Violet decides it wasn't the brainwashing; she really does love him...

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Despite the promise of "knee-deep" romance, the premise sounded interesting, and the cover promised a slightly creepy, gothic tale. The story succeeded in making me curious, but failed in almost every other respect. The impression I got was one of an adolescent fantasy and/or fanfiction. It's heavily stylized, and I get why that worked for some readers, but I will most likely not be reading anything further by this author without a sterling review from a trusted friend. :)

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