Monday, May 18, 2015

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Release Date - June 2, 2015
Publisher Website - Penguin Canada/Bloomsbury
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Mysteries can surprise us offering up twists and turns that leave us breathless. They can also unravel in quiet ways leaving us spellbound by the journey. The Devil You Know is the latter kind. A highly predictable, well written, plausible mystery that is hiding a lot under it's sexy, heart racing surface.

A newbie to the novels of Trish Doller, I was immediately pulled into the story because of her writing. There is an addictive quality to it. Her tone immediately captures the sleepy, humid heat of a summer in Florida. The narration has an almost gentle, lethargic feel that compliments the setting and storyline impeccably. The various elements of the story - setting, characters, plot, pacing - all combine and work effortlessly together to create a chilling, but quietly so, atmosphere.

The chemistry between the characters in this novel is scorching. The connection between them is instantaneous but it is not presented as love at first sight. It's lust wrapped in a healthy dose of teenage hormones. Arcadia knows she feels something and follows what her instincts are telling her as she navigates this new romance. The element of danger keeps the reader on their toes never knowing if they can quite trust either cousin which only increases the tension felt during the novel.

There is a subtext here about the choices people make and the way we judge them for it. Particularly women and the choices they make when it comes to sex and their sexuality. Plenty will judge Arcadia for making the decisions she does. They are rash, dangerous, and ill advised decisions. They are mistakes. She's also a teenager. I made plenty of unwise decisions finding my way as a teenager, and wouldn't want them to define me. A teenager wanting to spend time with charming, good-looking young men is not unfathomable. Add in that she's feeling a little rebellious and craving adventure and the decisions Arcadia make fit her character. The outcome of those decisions hold huge consequences for those involved, while still reinforcing Arcadia's right to make those decisions. It hammers home the way we blame characters, female ones especially, for the mistakes they make. People are not perfect, and I don't expect the characters I read about to be either.

There is a very positive message regarding sex, virginity and worth. A beautifully done scene where Arcadia recalls her mother telling her that her virginity didn't signify her goodness, and that she didn't lose value if she decided to have sex. That her worth as a person wasn't defined by whether she had been sexually active or not. In a society where double standards still exists this type of healthy message is incredibly important. The notion that losing your virginity is more significant for a female than a male is still widely perpetuated.Women are often harshly judged for behaviour that is excused in men. This entire element was well written and woven into the novel seamlessly. It creates this undercurrent that feels like the true heart of the story, even if the mystery appears like it is.

A mystery that is entirely readable, and perfect for those lazy days of summer that await us. While the mystery is predictable, the journey is more than enthralling enough to keep your interest, and like the swamps that haunt these pages, there is more going on underneath that what appears at first glance.


  1. It sounds just like I wanted it to be. Great! I can't wait to get it!

  2. Yes! So true! The double standard kills me. It's so great to hear about a book where a conversation like this can be spoken about between mother and daughter honestly. That alone is enough of a reason to get me to read this book.


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