The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Publication: July 26th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: e-ARC, 320 pages
Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction, Contemporary
Read: August 2016
Tiffany McDaniel — Goodreads
I received an e-ARC of this book from the author and St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a book that will rip your heart out and stomp on it with no mercy. It’s painful, powerful and intense. There are times when it got confusing because it moves between the life of the protagonist in the past and the present. I would find myself reading and be confused about the actions of a 13 year old when it was actually the 84 year old man telling that part of the story. There wasn’t enough distinction between them. But it was the way the story needed to be told. It was all about family, friendship, death, innocence, right, wrong and religion and it was full of many twists and turns that honestly left me breathless.
Writing Style – 5 out of 5 stars
Beautiful, just beautiful honestly. The writing style is so eerie and atmospheric. It reminded me a lot of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing but so much older, much more seasoned to fit with the story and what it was trying to say. It’s powerful, intense and emotional. It reads whimsically and lyrically. There are some of the most beautiful sentences that I’ve ever seen in this book. It was enchanting.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
It’s really hard for me to explain what I feel when it comes to the characters. I really felt for some and others made me totally uncomfortable. But they were all complex and well developed. While strange and odd in some moments, they were palpable. They felt like real honest people with quirks and fears and memories and pasts that shape who they are. Fielding is the main character and I was a little torn over how to feel about him. We meet him in two different places in his life which project two different personalities and they were both so heartbreaking and painful to read about. The older him is full of regret and vulnerability and so much built up disappointment and rage and sadness. It was so torturous to hear him talk about his struggles in life and then slowly but surely see where everything went haywire to make him that way. The younger him just made me feel such pity because I could see how he would end up and how he dug himself deeper and deeper into that upcoming reality. He’s young and innocent yet hopeful but misguided. He makes so many of what he considers to be mistakes and it’s hard not to agree with him because you see the result. All of this makes for a truly intense and emotional journey.