The devil comes to Ohio in Tiffany McDaniel's breathtaking and heartbreaking literary debut novel, The Summer That Melted Everything.
*Winner of The Guardian's 2016 "Not the Booker" Prize and the Ohioana Readers' Choice Award
*Goodreads Choice Award nominee for "Best Fiction" and "Best Debut"
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.
Compelling, strong, and a must-read.
I am so broken-hearted by this book. It absolutely wowed me and wrecked me. Tiffany McDaniel is an incredibly skilled writer. Not only did the plot have me hooked from the beginning, but so did the prose. It was beautifully written which made the events of The Summer That Melted Everything that much more tragic. The best part of this book was its characters. McDaniel seems to be an expert at character creation and development. Each character from Fielding to Sal to Grayson Elohim were human and developed as humans do. They were flawed and beautiful and (most) were lovable. McDaniel's characters came to life on the pages of this book. Their struggles came to life. Another McDaniel excelled at was creating humanity within her pages. Each of the character's struggles (including side characters) and how they dealt with it was so human. The topical issues addressed in her book were incredibly human. McDaniel dealt with topics that humans still struggle with today. Homophobia, mob mentality, the criminal justice system, and racism. By including these issues, but not hitting you over the head with it, McDaniel made her book relevant in 1984 and today. The ending was heartbreaking and disturbing and as much as I wanted to say, "That wouldn't happen in 1984, let alo let alone 2017..." they do happen. Events as disturbing as the end of this book did happen in 1984 and do happen today. I think how rooted in truth this book was is what made it so much more heartbreaking. The Summer that Melted Everything is compelling and strong and a must-read. In today's current climate it is incredibly timely and so important. It is definitely one of the better books I've read this year. It is definitely heavy and heartbreaking, but as a reader and as a human, everyone should pick up this book.