Right away I knew Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was going to be a highly atmospheric novel, which I was looking forward to. Tucholke definitely hit the nail on the head on several occasions in that respect.
For example, A few things I loved about this book was the scenery. An old, run-down mansion called Citizen Kane that lies by the sea? You've got my attention. A girl who dresses up in her grandmother's clothes from when she was younger? Yes, please. A town that has free screenings of classic movies such as Casablanca in the town's square? Sign me up (and why can't I live there). Have the characters make really delicious foods that sound like you're hanging out in a kitchen in Europe? Now you're just making me hungry.
Even though the book follows the predictable formula of girl meets mysterious boy, girl falls for boy, girl finds out there's more to the boy than meets the eye, it could easily fall into the category of easy to figure out the outcome. In that sense, most of the progression was foreseeable, but Tucholke adds her own little twist to make it her own.
While I wanted this to be more dark and grim than it actually was, it was still enjoyable with Tucholke's almost dream-like writing style. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of violence and grittiness towards the end of the novel, but it didn't have the deep Gothic feel that I had expected and anticipated. Mostly it made me want to spend summer days in an old attic full of forgotten trunks and play dress-up in vintage dresses and jewelery with strange boys while sipping sweating glasses of tea.
The twist towards the end wasn't a shock for me but I still enjoyed watching it play out. I just hope we get to learn more about a particular character in the next installment.
If you enjoy atmospheric novels with a splash of violence and mysterious boys who may or may not be bad for you, then pick up this novel. It's a fun read that you'll finish in a flash.