DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO ANY CHARACTER.
I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press/Blackstone
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Genre: Fiction, Adult, Adult Fiction, Mystery
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 temperature 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.
I guess I should probably start by saying that this book completely crushed me and left me staring at my wall for minutes.
THIS IS NOT A LIGHT READ!
Because I actually thought it was.
Quick story >> When Ms. Tiffany emailed me about the eARC, I just finished reviewing Madeline Dyer’s Untamed. So it was perfect timing. I read the title and immediately assumed it was a YA light read. Oh, how wrong I was. << end of quick story.
Reading this book was like walking in the dark for me because after downloading the eARC, I went straight into reading it. No Goodreads summary reading or whatnot. I did watch the book’s trailer, which was just as mysterious as the book’s premise. And so it felt a bit slow for me at first. I had no idea where the story was going, so it made me less excited to continue…until Chapter 5. That’s when it grabbed my attention. And I was bookmarking almost every page from then on.
The Summer that Melted Everything held something dark. The truth. The truth of what happens when madness takes its toll.
“Madness. The compassing violin when in our head, the directionless chaos when out of it. Isn’t that what madness is, after all? Clarity to the beholder, insanity to the witnessing world. My God, what madness this world has witnessed. What beautiful, chaotic madness.”
How some people can be blinded by their beliefs. The truth of what the people around us may be experiencing right now, right this moment. And most of all, the unimaginable aftermath.
While reading her book, I scrolled through Tiffany McDaniel’s site. There I saw her beautiful artworks. And after finishing TSTME, I now see these masterpieces in a different light.
It’s not everyday you see an author who can interpret her haunting paragraphs into art.
Another haunting part of this book is its characters. I tell you now, DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO ANY CHARACTER. They will all disappoint you, one way or another. Tiffany managed to make every character in her book transform into someone unimaginable. And do the things you least expect them to do. This is not a story where the main character saves the day. In the end, he was actually the one that needed a lot of saving.
I kind of hated his parents for that. I know tough times can bring out the worst in people, and boy, have the Bliss family been in one hell of a tough time. But I find their parenting style towards Fielding a bit unfair. Yes, Fielding can be difficult at times, but he’s 13 years old for heaven’s sake. He was a boy who needed someone by his side but had none in the end. This is a book that shows you that, sometimes, no one can save you but yourself. The damage that the summer of 1984 brought was incomparable for all the citizens of Breathed, especially to Fielding. We see how this tragedy changes him throughout the book. And by the end of it, I felt truly sorry for him.
This book was brutal and at the same time captivating. But, yes, it was hard to read for me. You see, this book is told from 2 different POVs. The young Fielding Bliss, and the old. With that, you see how the events to come will change him entirely. It’s not pretty. This book is major stress-inducing for me because I have no idea where the story will take me.
The ending was the real devil in this story. It hits you right when you least expect it. It came out of nowhere. LITERALLY. It will crush your already crushed heart, and it will hold a big red flag that says, “THIS IS NOT A HAPPY STORY.”
This book was hard to read to be honest, and I don’t think any reader who can’t handle books that deals with dark and very sensitive issues can read this without throwing it.
But that’s what I loved about it.
I LOVE HOW THIS BOOK MADE ME QUESTION A LOT OF THINGS. How impressive Tiffany’s paragraphs were and how it made me feel right after I finished the book, just sitting there and trying to process everything I just read and how on earth I am going to explain it without random words bursting through my lips.
But look! I did it!
This is, in fact, one of the darkest books I’ve read.