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 guesthouse 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.
A gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and F. Scott Fitzgerald, set against a creepy summertime backdrop–a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and Anna Dressed in Blood.
This book was not at all what I expected it to be. It was light and airy but deep and gripping, like the breeze off water. There are haunting moments of past between Violet and those she has loved, and so many mysteries. The synopsis does nothing to prepare you for the whirlwind you’re about to jump into reading this book. So many twists and turns. Unlike many stories with absentee parents, this one actually makes it seem like, while still weird, it was normal for this family. From the beginning Violet’s oddness made me think she would be an unreliable narrator, and while in some ways parts were unreliable, they were for a completely understandable reason. The ending twist I really hadn’t expected and I quite enjoyed!
This is a great coming of age story, with a hint of that thriller in there. I definitely can see the F. Scott Fitzgerald vibes. There were also a lot of odd metaphors and older references which, while peculiar, really solidified the setting. I actually really loved the peculiar names some characters have, and the names themselves are such that the actual time period this is supposed to be in isn’t quite clear, but it’s a wonderful and addictive book all the same.
I actually bought this book and the sequel based on a booktok (TikTok section dedicated to books), though I can’t recall which video convinced me to do so. Keep sharing that book love with people, and if you have a recommendation that you’d like me to read or review, feel free to email me.
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯