Skip to main content

The Devil You Know

I love Trish Doller's books and I was super excited to read her latest, The Devil You Know. It is a bit different than her previous two novels in that it is a bit of thriller, but it has the same wonderful level of writing and amazing character development that made me love her books in the first place.

Since her mother's death from cancer, Cadie has given her teen years to being the responsible and reliable good girl. She helps at her dad's store, practically raises her younger brother by herself, and does most of the housework. Cadie has sacrificed soccer, her GPA, and her boyfriend for her family. All she can see in her future is more of the same, living the same life while she looks at the map on her wall holding all her dreams of future travels that will never happen. Disgusted with her father and saddened by her lack of choices, all Cadie wants is one weekend to be a teenager and live and do something spontaneous and unpredictable. When she meets two good looking cousins and they offer to take her and one of her friends on a road trip, she jumps at the chance. Noah makes Cadie's entire being come to life, her body buzz with a thousand lights, and she feels connected with him. Matt is also cute and fun to flirt with. As the weekend continues, Cadie begins to feel more unsure about her choices and safety. Then she makes a horrific discovery that turns her fun weekend into a terrifying fight to save her life.

Cadie is my favorite Doller heroine yet. She loves her family and has so many dreams. Her frustration with life is something I really felt and understand. She has sacrificed more than she should have needed to of her life, and even though she is lauded by the adults she knows for this, it doesn't change her increasing bitterness over the situation and anger toward her father. I also loved how opinionated and forceful she was. The decisions that lead Cadie into danger might be considered unwise by some. One always has to be wary of taking off with strangers, but it wasn't like she left with no one knowing where she was going or who she was with. She knew one person coming along and she had her phone. And I completely got why she needed to this because Doller did an amazing job of making me believe it. My heart ached for Cadie's confusion and her terror and the choices she was forced to make as the story unfolded, and I loved how she came out of it all in the end.

I'm going to say very little else about the other characters or details of the plot because I want to keep this as spoiler free as possible. (This kind of kills me because there are some things I'd like to say about both boys, but alas. Just know that I highly approve of how Doller wrote both their characters and how she spun out their stories too.) What I will say is that Dollar does an incredible job at writing a thrilling tale. It is exactly as long as it needs to be, and each part flows perfectly into the next. There are clues perfectly left for the reader to look back at. The atmosphere is so well done as well. The secluded setting of the Florida swamps was perfect for the story and how it progressed. I really felt like I could feel it too: the heat, the rain, the oppressive humidity.

This book, like all Doller's books, has a tremendous heart to it too. It is about community and relationships and how choices, from the smallest to the largest most life changing, make us who we are. The Devil You Know also has a strong feminist core and has a lot of good needed things to say about sexual consent and female empowerment over sexual choices. One thing that bothered me about that was how it presented the idea of sexual purity before marriage from a Christian perspective  but that is not something I can blame on Doller. That is the fault of the terrible way it's too often (and incorrectly from a theological stand point) taught by actual Christians. I actually really can't wait until my daughter is old enough to read this so we can talk about even that point too.

This book excels in every area and does so with economy of words and a lot of emotion. I highly recommend it.

Content Heads-Up: some mature language, underage drinking, sexual content


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Shorter Musings MG Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads. Anya and the Dragon   by Sofiya Pasternack This book is fun. It is a book full of adventure, an obvious bad guy, some more complicated morally gray area characters, and a strong, brave heroine. It is also a book about friendships, community, and fighting for what is right. All things that usually work for me really well. While I enjoyed this, I did feel it was a little overlong and there were certain plot points at the end I didn't love. However, there were things I thought were done really well, such as Anya's Jewish faith and the idea that power needs to be challenged. In the end it was a middle of the road read for me, but it is one I will certainly be recommending to dragon and fantasy adventure lovers I know! R is for Rebel   by J. Anderson Coats This is tough because I usually really like Coats's books. I had such a hard time with this one though on so many levels. It's difficult to get into because t

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein


On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a