The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ARC from publisher
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
Arcadia Wells lives in the swampy, nothing town of High Springs, Florida. Most of her time is spent either working in her family's store, going to school or taking care of her father and younger brother. She's also pretty much had to take on the role of Mother in her house after her own Mother passed away from cancer. She thought that life couldn't get any worse, but a break-up with her boyfriend, who she still loves, assured her that, indeed, it could. Cadie has had enough of this boring life. At eighteen-years-old, she's ready for adventure. She wants to travel, have fun and forget her mountain of responsibilities, but she fears that she's destined to stay right where she is forever. Right now for Cadie, ANY adventure will do.
One night at a party at the local camp grounds, Arcadia meets Matt and Noah, two very hot cousins, by their gorgeous '69 Cougar. With them, she spends a night of fun that includes a skinny dip in the swamp. These two charming, older guys are exactly what she needs right now. A little mystery, a little excitement and a chance at romance make Cadie feel alive again. When the guys invite Cadie and her friend Lindsey on an impromptu road trip to Disney World, Cadie jumps at the chance to escape her responsibilities, even if it's only for a little while.
At first, the road trip is nothing but a fun and freeing experience, even though Lindsey mysteriously chickened out of the trip and left her alone with Matt and Noah. Cadie is still determined to enjoy herself. She's seeing new places, having new experiences and even getting closer to Noah. After a while, though, Cadie begins to notice strange things happening and the mood of their trip starts to change. She soon discovers that one of the guys she's stuck with isn't at all who he seems. The problem is...which one? Adventure and fun quickly turn into danger, and Cadie may realizes that her quest for freedom could cost her her life.
I very much enjoyed this psychological thriller from Trish Doller. The first two thirds of the book were more like a contemporary, road trip romance, but the last third was definitely a terrifying cautionary tale. I felt totally pulled into Arcadia's world, so much so that I read it in one sitting. One thing I loved was that the book and it's settings had lots of delightful Southern charm. It's like I was lulled into enjoying Cadie's journey and them BAM...stranger danger!
There is a lesson I'd like to leave you with from this book.
Just because the Candy Van looks like THIS:
Instead of THIS:
It does NOT make it ok to get in without finding out more about who's driving it! Even if they promise to take you to Disney World!
Because even cute guys in cool cars can be dangerous!!
I could totally understand why Arcadia wanted so desperately to get away from her life, but she still should have used her head a bit more. I realize that she was only eighteen and so bogged down with responsibility that her judgement got clouded, and that for much of the trip, everything was fine...but you never know. But, you know what? Its a book, and if she didn't embark on this journey, there would have been no book. She did show that she was able to take care of herself once she realized how much trouble she was in. I was definitely on the edge of my seat for the last part of the book.
Like I said, much of this book is a charming, slow building romance. The suspense begins to build about halfway through, and the action occurs in the last part of the book.
If you enjoyed Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick, you should pick up The Devil You Know.
Both are romantic suspense, but Black Ice takes place in the snowy mountains and The Devil You Know takes place in the sticky hot swamps of Florida. The Devil You Know is a perfect summer read to pack away on your own road trip.