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.
Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch. – Goodreads
Hmmm. This book. I really feel like it was two books in one. The first half and the second half.
In the first half of the book we meet Violet. Violet, who was forced to grow up too soon while missing her grandma, the only person who really “got” her. Violet lives at a crumbling estate called “Citizen Kane” with her brother, who is a bit of a jerk. Their parents are off in Europe being artists who don’t have time for their children. This leaves Violet to be the adult in the family. She decides to rent out a small guesthouse to make some extra money.
And that is when things get weird. Violet rents it to a boy around her age name River West. River West, who charms her right away and there is then instalove. There is a reason for that as the blurb says, but it doesn’t mean I had to like it. Because of River and the instalove, this makes Violet an extremely unreliable narrator. Which, if I’m being honest, I often enjoy. It is nice and refreshing however to have a character know they aren’t being reliable.
Which brings us to book two, the second half. There comes a point in the novel which Violet knows that she is under this spell and understands the control that River was using and she’s still like OH OKAY YES I LOVE AND ADORE YOU. Dude. COME ON. THINK ABOUT THIS.
Plus the giant twist, which legitimately shocked me, annoyed me more than anything. While this is a solid book and will have its fanbase, it is just not for me.