The Devil You Know – book review

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Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. 

So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it’s just the risk she’s been craving — the opportunity to escape. 

But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you’ll know I can’t resist a good mystery. There’s just something so addictive about these types of novels — perhaps it’s the unexpected twists in the plot, perhaps it’s the characters of dubious reliability, or perhaps it’s simply the way they make my heart race with every page-turn. The Devil You Know was utterly engrossing and I devoured it in one sitting. This isn’t a book you’ll want to be interrupted while reading.

My favourite thing about this novel was its intensity. There’s never a dull moment or a lull in the action — there’s always something happening or some comment that’s made by a character that makes me rethink everything I’ve read and question the authenticity of the things that are being said by certain characters. At around 250 pages, this book is already a fairly quick read, but the fast pacing and the way the end of each chapter left me desperate to know what was going to happen next meant that it felt even quicker to read. And there’s nothing I love more than being so absorbed in a book that you go to check the page numbers and realise you’ve just read 200 pages without even realising then go past; it’s just like you’re living alongside the characters and experiencing everything they feel firsthand.

The setting and the inclusion of campfires, sleeping in tents, wandering around graveyards and canoeing down a river made The Devil You Know really exciting to read about, and even creepier than it already was. Imagine sleeping in a small tent with someone you hardly know, hearing rumours about people going missing and turning up dead in the bush around where you are and being surrounded by the fog and the mist and a dense, inescapable forest. Everything about this book screamed Run!… but like our oblivious protagonist, I just couldn’t escape the entrancing grasp of this thrilling tale of lust and lies.

For the most part, the characters were really interesting to read about and felt incredibly genuine, and I especially loved the chemistry between them. Although there’s technically a love triangle, the way that the it’s integrated and the way that the characters interact with one another in a completely realistic and unforced way meant that it wasn’t something I found cringeworthy or trite. I loved the dynamics between our protagonist and the two boys she met at the campfire party and absolutely fell in love with these two mysterious men. However, there’s one thing about The Devil You Know that’s quite stereotypical of this genre — the two boys are cousins; one’s the ‘nice guy’ and the other’s a ‘bad boy’, and, of course, we all know who our protagonist is going to fall for. It’s always the same, isn’t it? But even so, I found that I could overlook this unoriginal scenario because of the intensity of their relationships and the chemistry they had.

Maybe one of the downsides of reading a lot of these types of books — YA romance-thrillers — is that I can almost always guess how it’s going to end and who the real antagonist is. With The Devil You Know, I knew what was going to happen as soon as the two male love interests were introduced. While it didn’t completely spoil the novel for me, I do think the ending would have been more surprising, and thus enjoyable, if I remained completely clueless about the true nature of these characters. But I do think that a lot of people found this novel slightly disappointing because of this fact and that it definitely isn’t on the same level as our beloved romance-thrillers, such as Gone Girl, With Malice or Dangerous Girls.

While The Devil You Know was an enjoyable, fast-paced read, it unfortunately doesn’t belong on the same shelf as the other beloved and acclaimed romance-thrillers, but that doesn’t mean that this novel is any less engrossing or entertaining. If you’re a fan of YA thrillers with a heavy romantic element, I’d definitely recommend adding The Devil You Know to your TBR!

Rating:

4 Stars

Let's Talk

Have you had the chance to read The Devil You Know yet? Do you read a lot of romance-thrillers? What’s your favourite novel from this genre? Are you sick of the nice guy / bad boy love-triangle trope? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Title: The Devil You Know

Publication date: 1st August 2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Australian RRP: $15.99

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