Let me just say, wow. What a title. I don't see how anyone could read it and not be intrigued. It's taken from Cab Calloway's song of the same name, which I am Googling as I type, and lemme tell, it does not sound anything like I thought it would (listen here). The story starts off Twilightesque: girl meets handsome boy in a small town, and is inexplicably drawn to him. Only in TDATDBS, there's more to it than aforementioned girl merely having the hots for Hot Stranger. You know that term, "The Devil made me do it?" This book revolves around that, and I gotta say, I like the way Tucholke spun her tale. We see right from the off that the way Violet is falling for River is not normal, and quite out of her control. Soon, strange events occur in town that makes you question, "I wonder why they would do such a thing?" The answer is plain and simple: The devil, quite literally, made them do it.
I loved the characters, although I think the book could've done with more females. I counted two main females who appeared in more than a couple of scenes. That's it. The rest of the book was woefully testosterone-fuelled. I loved the appearance of *SPOILERS START* River's brother, and later on, his--gasp!!--half brother. This half brother made the ending for me. Brodie was, in every sense of the word, a psychopath. His character oozed crazed sadism, and it was interesting to see such a character in the YA realm. *SPOILERS END* One thing that amused, if not annoyed me were all the characters' names: Violet White. River West. Sunshine Black. John Leap. I couldn't take them as seriously as I could've, not with those names! I also felt that there was some distance between the reader and the protagonist. It's not something I can describe, but I didn't feel as much empathy for her than I did with other heroines.
This novel was touted as a gothic story on the book flap, and I do love my gothic stories. If a book has any of the following:
1. Tangled, twisted family trees
3. Feral children
4. Mental illness
5. Old towns with long histories
...I will most likely pick them up. TDATDBS had numbers 1, 3, and 5. I loved the parts of the book when Violet went looking into her grandmother's past and connected it to the town's. That made for some delicious reading.
While the book wasn't as amazeballs as I expected it to be, it was still, nonetheless, a very good book. As I was reading it, I was going back and forth on whether I would purchase the sequel, and in the end decided against it. That ending, though. It totally cinched it for me, and while I won't be rushing out to get the second book right away, it's good enough that, were I to get caught on a rainy day inside a bookshop, it'd probably be the first book I would get.
My review: 6.5/10