“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.”
This book is wonderful. I had some teeny weeny nit picky type things as I read- but all-in-all this is my kind of narrative. Contemporary Gothic done to perfection.
Characters – So alive. I felt like I was moving among them- I always have trouble with faces (generally, in life, it’s my little quirk) but I feel like if I bumped into these characters I would instantly recognise them. And I appreciate the naming of the characters here too. Sometimes writers come up with some real clangers- names that just don’t fit the situation/period/personality. And although we have some odd names, they fit- Violet, River, Neely, Summer. And I think it’s because they’re mixed with more traditional names- Luke, Jack, Freddie (for a lady, but still..)
Plot – What I like the most about the plot is that you don’t feel like it’s particularly ‘paranormal’, when it really couldn’t be MORE paranormal if it tried! It’s like when I read an Edgar Allan Poe story, I just roll with it, it feels natural. Like it could, and should be, happening.
Narrative Style – Beautiful. A poetic type, combined with a colloquial contemporary style too. It’s a hybrid that just works.
Classic Lit? – Ok, this was one of my niggles. There were a lot of references to classic literature that I’m not sure were particularly useful to the story. I seem to be finding more and more references to the likes of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre within literature. Which is fine if it’s important to the story or character development- I’m just not sure it is here, not in every instance (and I highlighted a lot on my kindle). There were also some artsy/music references that went straight over my head. :s
Bromance – Not literally between bros. But there’s that thing going on, slightly bubbling under the surface, that Violet could fall for either brother. Personally, I’m a fan of sibling rivalry in a book (especially when it comes to the heart!) but only when it’s done well. And here, I feel like it’s handled carefully. I look forward to seeing how it develops, if it does develop in the way I’m imagining (Vampire Diaries anyone? 🙂 )
Setting – I want to live in a house like Citizen Kane. If anyone knows of a sprawling manor of a house perched near the edge of a cliff with a short walk to town through a wood and a beach hardly used by the general public- give me a call yeah?
I loved this book. Loved. Like proper loved it. To the point that I seem to have forgotten how to articulate myself. As I said above, the narrative style is totally my bag. It’s dark, scary, and remembers to make sure it’s got plenty of feels too!
An enthusiastic 5 out of 5. I cannot wait for the second book (out in August I think). I would highly recommend it to any YA reader, especially if paranormal or the traditional Gothic is your thing.