The Devil You Know
by Trish Doller
Expected Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
View at the Traffic light:
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.
So, I’m going to do something a little different with my review today & talk about ten different things I want to bring up in relation to The Devil You Know instead of my usual “traditional” review format.
1. The description of a contemporary road trip story turning scary & thrilling is highly accurate. This novel is a thriller, yes, but for a good portion of the book it doesn’t read like one. It’s not like one of those books that start off with a bang and a body. For a good chunk it’s just Cadie taking an adventurous road trip with two cousins. There’s an element of danger and the tension is there the entire time, but it’s not in your face.
2. It’s predictable. I enjoyed The Devil You Know, I really did, but it is the epitome of a predictable thriller. I don’t tend to find thrillers that unpredictable most of the time in the first place(when you read them often, you learn to spot the red herrings quickly). Do I still recommend it? Absolutely. Will you be irritated if you really need the mystery component? Probably.
3. The setting! It’s so well-done. You can practically feel the sticky Florida swamps. “Sticky” in general is a good word for this novel. There’s a sort of humid atmosphere that permeates the book.
4. It’s probably my least favorite Trish Doller novel. I want to reiterate this does mean I did not like it! It’s just that I loved Where the Stars Still Shine so much that writing this review(and reading this book) was an exercise in managing expectations. This book is good, but it’s a new genre and it’s not as flawless as I found Trish Doller’s contemporaries.
5. I love how empowered Cadie was. Even when Cadie’s frightened, Doller still gives her agency and power. That doesn’t mean she can come away from charged situations without a scratch, but it does mean that she gets a lot of autonomy, more than many characters do. This comes out in so many ways, including how Cadie chooses her sexual interactions & how she gets to make her own choices about what’s good for HER.
6. There is romantic tension that may read as slightly triangle-shape. I feel this is important to point out because it can be a make-or-break thing for many readers. I wouldn’t say it’s a classic love triangle in the least, but Cadie’s with two boys who are new to her and both handsome. She’s not necessarily attached to one(they’re not dating or anything), so to me it makes sense that she would harbor attraction to both, though she might not necessarily act on it.
7. Cadie’s not sure where she wants her life to go, but she’s not content to stick to a path. So, I went to college. I’m pro-college for sure, but not everyone goes to college and that needs to be reflected in YA too. Cadie’s graduated, but she doesn’t know what she wants to do next. She has some ambitions(which don’t include more education right away), and I really appreciated seeing this in YA. It’s one of those little things that’s important to note when it’s there because so many YA books follow the idea of high school then college like it’s a guarantee for everyone.
8. It’s a bit risky, which is why I really like it. This is the one thing I can always be guaranteed when I pick up a Trish Doller novel: she doesn’t go for the easy path. She lets her characters make huge mistakes without every portraying them as just completely dumb and out-of-touch. They try so hard, but they’re human, you know? That’s how I thought about Cadie and often the boys too. When the dramatic scenes happened, I could tell how they got there often through bad choices, but I could never condemn them for it. The story just doesn’t allow it because Doller does such a good job of setting up the characters and showing you who they are in just a few pages.
9. This book is a SUPER quick read. Thrillers tend to be quick anyway, because of the often fast pace, but The Devil You Know in particular was a fast read. It’s really short and there’s not a word out of place. I never wanted to put it down.
10. Overall, The Devil You Know is a strong addition to YA thrillers. As I mentioned above, it’s not my favorite thriller or my favorite Trish Doller novel, but it’s still very good, despite it’s predictability. Story-wise, it’s told in a satisfying manner and it was kinda a delight to read, in a slightly creepy way.
I’d definitely recommend The Devil You Know to fans of YA thrillers. I didn’t find this one *quite* as good as Doller’s contemporary novels, but she always does things with her books that I love and this one was no exception. 4/5 cupcakes.