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.
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: July 26th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
** I received an advanced readers copy directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**
There is no way that The Summer That Melted Everything is Tiffany McDaniel's debut novel. There is just no way. Even though I have read in multiple different spots that it is, I find it really hard to believe. This book in no way, shape, or form reads like one. It gives off the feel of a veteran writer who has been writing for years in order find the perfection that is soley theirs. In fact, it has left me quite speechless.
I won't re-tell the story because I feel that the less that is known going into this book the better. Besides, the synopsis gives a basic understanding of what the story is about. Set in 1984, McDaniels did a fabulous job of taking me back in time. Although I would have been younger than Fielding I felt like I was there with the accuracy of her descriptions right down to the acid washed jeans.Most noteworthy was the racism and attitude towards homosexuals and ignorance about AIDS. Although cringe worthy today, I thought it was an accurate depiction of the time.
This book was about many things. It was about family, love, loss, fear and ignorance to name just a few. It was about how fear and ignorance can turn ugly and how a pack mentality can easily be created and turn things even uglier. We have seen it happen in history where people have preyed on peoples fears and vulnerabilities to have them do unthinkable things. Even today I am seeing it but that is a whole other post for another time. In other words, the story was believable even though it was hard to swallow at times.
This book wasn't full of sunshine and happiness. In fact, it was pretty raw and hard to read (because of the content) at times. It was definitely not a book for someone looking for a feel good story. The dark, sad and depressing far outweighed the feel good moments. Having said that, I couldn't put it down. The writing was incredible and the story was so engaging and unique. I was hanging off every word. The Bliss family was my family and Sal was my brother. I connected with them and the story on so many levels. Although it was most definitely a dark read it was breathtakingly beautiful at the same time.
I highly recommend this book. It was easily one of the best debut novels that I have read in a long time. Book clubs will be discussing this book for years to come. Tiffany McDaniel's has a bright future in front of her and I for one can't wait to read whatever she comes out with next.
About the Author