Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Date finished: 7/24/16
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Blurb from the cover:
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.
My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. You can see the book trailer for this book here. Also I was lucky enough to get an interview with Tiffany and learn a little bit more about her life and her writing, which you can read here. This book tells the story of Fielding Bliss, whose life changes irrevocably during the summer of 1984. It is during that summer that Fielding meets and befriends Sal, the devil himself in the form of a thirteen year old boy. Over the course of that very hot summer, a number of tragic accidents happen and the townspeople are whisked into a frenzy, all looking for someone to blame. And isn’t it just lucky for them that a colored person recently came to town claiming to be the devil? During that summer of fear and hatred, the townspeople take on the form of an angry mob more than once, all losing their common sense when the “mob mentality” takes over.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I found this to be a thought-provoking read with a creative plot-line, and the characters all had a great depth and complexity to them. I LOVED Sal’s character, he played a great devil and I loved how the reader gradually learned more and more about his background. Another character I loved was Autopsy (Fielding’s Dad). I thought his narratives about the law and his role in interpreting the law as a local prosecutor were very well written and really made the reader consider the age old ideals of good vs evil and innocent vs guilty. This book had a fantastical feeling to it at the start but I think that there was more to it than that. I think this book really makes the reader examine how people’s perception can affect what they will believe about you and how the public mob mentality inspires more and more fantastical ideas. There was also a number of surprise twists at the end of this book that I didn’t see coming and that really created a lot of tension at the end of the story. While there were some gruesome tragedies in this story, I thought that this was a great novel that is most definitely worth the read. This was McDaniel’s debut novel and I’m very excited to read more by her in the future.
The bottom line: This book was interesting and thought-provoking with what I thought was a very creative plot line. The characters were all complex and the story line was well-paced. I would definitely recommend.
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page