Young Adult Book Review: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Spark and the Burn
Series: Between #2
By April Genevieve Tucholke
young Adult, Horror, Supernaural
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Dial Books, 320 pages
Source:  Bought
My Rating: 5 Stars
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The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it's easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he'd done both to me.

The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own .

Between the Spark and the Burn is as restless, turbulent and brooding as the dark sea that seems such a strong motif throughout this series. Not to be outshone by its predecessor, Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, once again author April Genevieve Tucholke has written a beautifully eloquent, dark and gothic read with a romance that is sumptuous and beguiling. Between the Spark and the Burn  is a stunning conclusion to the duology and I found myself lost in the story of Violet and the intoxicating power of the Redding brothers.

What I Liked:

  • The Settings. In the first book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Tucholkecreated and eerie and gothic setting with the dilapidated house known as Citizen Kane the really set the stage for this series. This time around readers are in for a new treat as Violet goes on a road trip in search for the boy she fell in love with the previous summer. The charismatic and enticing Redding brother named River. Along the way we are taken through the stormy Appalachian Mountains into deep forest and snow, through strange towns plagued by possession and deviltry. Yet, saved for nearly last and the most chilling is Carollie. A strange island of wild horses, ritual magic and sea gods. Each stop along the way brings Violet closer to the Redding brothers, and each step takes her deeper into the realm of danger.
  • The Prose. I love languid and evocative prose when it comes to gothic stories. Tucholke writes such beautiful and descriptive words, she truly is gifted in her writing. Yet, I'm never bored or feel they are too detailed. Her words have the ability to easily transport you. Making you see, feel, hear and smell all that's around you and her characters surroundings, escaping completely into the story.
  • Violet. Violet is such a unique heroine. She is only seventeen, yet she has an old soul feel about her. Eccentric, smart, brash and impulsive. Brave. She keeps me on my toes when reading because I'm never completely sure of her actions. She's tasted love, passion, and she's full of restless energy. She's determined to find River and help capture the 'Devil-Boy' once and for all. I love that she is a multifaceted character. Imperfect, yet so relatable at the same time.
  • The diary. Sparsed throughout the story are snippets taken from a diary Violet found by her grandmother Freddie, whose writings give new meaning and clues behind the whole mystery of the Redding Brothers, the Spark and the Burn, and how the families are connected. Like Violet, Freddie has always been a favorite character of mine, despite the fact she remains in the background only. A beloved grandmother who shared a passion for life as well as personal experiences with the infamous Reddings.
  • The Magic. The Spark and Burn. The Supernatural. There's something scary, yet fascinating about the way the supernatural is played out in the story. Subtle. Like a labyrinth, the plot and supernatural unfold, luring the reader deeper and the stakes just keep getting higher. I think this is where many readers and fans of horror and gothic writing are going to really enjoy Tucholke's writing style and story telling ability. Like popular urban legends, there's just enough of a hint of truth to make you shiver, the question of could this happen lurking in the back of your mind. 
  • The Romance. The romance takes some new direction in this book. There's still the feeling of forbidden love, but don't get me wrong, the romance will still sweep you up in a most surprising way.
  • The ending. This series is a duology, and Between the Spark and the Burn, concludesthe story with plenty of tension, action, mystery all leading up to a well satisfied ending, if a touch on the bittersweet side. I loved where the story went and how it concluded. Well done!

What I missed:

  • This is not a negative in any way. Simple put. I missed romping around Citizen Kane with Violet.  The crumbling mansion perched by the sea has become to me what a favorite character often evokes.  A fondness of an old friend, one that I'm missing.

Highly recommended series. This is one of my favorite series. One, in my opinion, that holds the bar of young adult literature very high. Filled with intelligent, beautiful prose, a haunting love story and chilling mystery, I loved every minute spent reading this series.