Every now and again, I get thirsty. For one particular kind of story. A raw, dangerous, attention-seeking kind of story that doesn’t have a wanderlust or Please Just Let Me Be Cool And Adventerous theme. And sometimes a book pushes something really, really nice towards me. And sometimes it’s just destiny. And other times I just really like standalones.
But anyways, this book adopted me. It all started with the title. Moving on, that is one beautiful cover if I do say so myself. Then I opened it up.
To all the girls who know what they want.
And to all the girls who don’t.
Me = sold. So when I went back to Barnes & Noble a week or two later and discovered that the copies were signed–well, destiny intervened again. I drank this book up and the funny thing is, even after it was gone so quickly, I was satisfied.
- Author: Trish Doller
- Publisher: Bloomsbury
- Year: 2015
- Genre vibe: Adventure, coming of age, contemporary, thriller, heart-and-soul books that arrest you and don’t let you go no matter what and just keep promising that everything’ll be fine
- At a glance: Arcadia is stuck. Stuck raising her little brother after her mom dies, stuck working, stuck in a tiny little town, stuck dealing with her boyfriend’s breaking up with her. And so the small rebellion of going to a campfire party on her own time seems like all she can get out of life–until she meets Matt and Noah, two cousins who are as magnetic as they are mysterious.
So where do you start with a book that became one of those favorites? Last year I read Honk if you Hate Me by Deborah Halverson for a blind date with my library. It’s got a bright pink cover, and it’s only about two hundred pages long, and if you never had it handed to you you probably wouldn’t ever think twice about it. It became one of my soul books within a few pages, and this one did the same thing.
I went into it scared. It promises to be a little out there, a little mature, and more than a little daring. I opened it and thought please please don’t do anything that makes me hate you, because if there’s one thing I hate it’s being disgusted with a book.
But that’s not what happened.
The Devil You Know is definitely not an…easy kind of story. It’s dangerous, and thrilling in good ways and bad ways, and decently sexy as far as YA goes, too, which is another point I’ll briefly touch on in a minute. The writing is so good. It’s so edge-of-your-seat as far as action goes. The kisses are intoxicating. The characters’ struggles are captivating, despite being stories we’ve all heard before. The thing about this book is that it takes what you know, and it polishes it into something you can hang onto.
Cadie, for one. She seemed like one of the realest characters I’ve read in a long time; her voice and her wants and her dreams and her hates and fears all mixed together to form this perfect vision of a person. Same with Noah; he practically leaped off the page. Matt a little less so, but not so much that he seemed flat or anything. They were all so human. They all struggled with so very, very much. And so even though the story was highly predictable–I didn’t care. It’s a story we’ve heard a few dozen times if we’re into adventure stories at all, and it has a way it plays out. That isn’t a fault. For this story, I feel like it was just a method of conveyance.
Which sort of brings me to my semi-point: I think this book had a Statement to make, and I missed it. It’s the only thing that’s bugging me. I think this book was written to say something about a certain kind of relevant issue, and I just kind of didn’t pay attention. Which is great, because if you’re discerning about issues and things and you like to read about them, then you’ll find it. If you’re like me and you were dying of thirst for a story that would remind you that there was recklessness in the world, then that’s good too, and you’ll absolutely find that there.
Maybe Doller had something to say. Maybe she didn’t. But what I have to say is that she did all of it very, very tastefully. From sexy elements to emotional impact, the best thing about this book was how every word seemed chosen, purposeful. It was short, only a couple hundred pages, and it seemed like every word had to make the cut. Which felt amazing, and was so, so much fun to read.
This book is alive. Whatever it comes alive with for you, it’s alive. For me it was one of the best things I could’ve picked up at the moment.
- Rating: 5/5 stars
- Recommended to: People looking for something open, real, and reckless that can handle decently intense content.
- Lasting impression: Cool clear water up over your wrists. The overwhelming feeling of hands on your face. Starting to laugh with someone and stopping laughing yourself because you want to watch their eyes.