From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-With their beloved grandmother, Freddie, deceased and their artistic, absentee parents blowing the family money abroad, 17-year-old twins Violet and Luke are as neglected as Citizen Kane, their formerly grand and now dilapidated home on a seaside cliff. Antagonistic Luke and sultry neighbor Sunshine are Violet's only company until she rents the guesthouse to enigmatic River West. His crooked smile, discerning palate, and penchant for lying leave Violet both enamored and distrustful. He is cavalier with the mind-manipulating supernatural power he is unable, and somewhat reluctant, to control. In a small town with its fair share of lurid tales, River's appearance brings with it devil sightings, missing children, and disturbing deaths. Tucholke's gothic tone, plot, and setting, complete with a deteriorating estate full of dark family secrets, is reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier or YA fare such as Kami Garcia's and Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures (Little, Brown, 2009). Violet's narration is frank and perceptive, livened with humor and an almost poetically descriptive lilt. She is a combination of naive and mature, having grown up in relative seclusion with limited supervision. Violet and River's attraction is palpable, but their romance is tainted by his shifty morals and shady charm. Swearing and sexual situations are non-gratuitous. Adults are easily appeased and generally turn a blind eye. Give this one to fans of creepy mysteries, particularly tales that don't skimp on the violence. They'll appreciate the conclusion's heart-pounding, bile-rising standoff.-Danielle Serra, Cliffside Park Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Violet and her twin brother, Luke, live in a crumbling mansion by the sea. There’s not much of a town, and nothing much happens. Then River West rents their guest house, and all hell breaks loose. People die; children stalk the cemetery with stakes; and strange, alluring River delights and frightens Violet in equal measure. Violet’s beloved grandmother always told her to be wary of the devil, and it’s not a leap to wonder if he has strolled into her life under the guise of a copper-headed boy with a crooked smile. Tucholke paints this moody, gothic romance with a languid brush. Moments of horror nestle against warm, dreamy kisses. Though the text could have been tighter—and the number of important characters fewer—there are unexpected twists that make the story a surprise. That, and the faded elegance that permeates almost every page, elevates this above more generic offerings of its type. Violet, too, has a quirky uniqueness that will draw readers, just as it draws River—for better or worse. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper