I received this book for free from AudioBook Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 26th 2016
Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
Source: AudioBook Reviewer
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.
It is nearly impossible to write a review about a book that you are in love with. From the very first words I fell for this book, the characters, the plot, the author. She is able to arrange the words in such a way that I have cried myself through the book and still, I’m begging for more.
This is like the child of To Kill a Mockingbird and Horns (Danielle Radcliffe movie). While there are similarities with To Kill a Mockingbird, such as being in a town where some mind’s might be a bit closed too tightly, and a father that is protective of his family to a fault, a narrator that is a boy that has grown old and weary, there are also major differences. The biggest difference is that the devil came to town but he wasn’t looking for a soul to steal, he actually just went to Breathed, Ohio because he was invited.
Autopsy Bliss is a man that is constantly seeking the truth. As a father, and a lawyer, he decides that he wants to know what is going on with the devil. The exact reason for the invitation is not given but there it is, all the same. Autopsy is a kind and gentle person and wants to save the world by putting away criminals, one miscreant at a time and my thought is that he actually wanted to put the devil on trial. However, when the devil shows up he’s in the body of a 13 year old little black boy. He doesn’t come with a pitchfork and horns and hell fire but with a soft voice and bright green eyes and a knowledge about the town that is eerie.
“If the devil was going to come, I expected to see the myth of him. A demon with an asphalt shine. He’d be fury. A chill. A bad cough. Cujo at the car window, a ticket at the Creepshow booth, a leap into the depth of night.”
Fielding Bliss finds the boy standing on the court steps, asking for ice cream. Nothing out of the ordinary for a young boy. He calls himself the devil and of course Fielding questions but like his childhood innocence immediately believes him and takes him home to his father.
“Are you sayin’ that you’re the devil?”
“It is not my first name, but it is one of them.” He reached down to scratch his thigh. It was then I noticed the denim was worn at the knees more than anywhere else. Over top the wear were layers of dirt, as if kneeling were all the time for him.
“You’re lyin’.” I searched his head for horns. “You’re just a boy.”
His fingers twitched. “I was once, if that counts.”
With Sal comes a heatwave that is unforgivable and as the heat wave goes on, tempers rise.
This book was written and narrated beautifully. The standpoint of the main character, Fielding, is being told while he is an adult looking back on his life and the summer of 1984. Although in the 80’s it feels like it should be the 50’s or 60’s. There is a lot of bigotry in this town and once people find out Sal is the devil, although no one quite believes it, they start to get this small itch in the back of their minds that he really is, and if he is they should do something about it.
There is so much that I can write about this. I want to read (listen) to it again. The narration was beautiful although a few times it was difficult to know if it was a memory of the event happening and the flip flopping got a little confusing. Sal comes up with some beautiful images and is able to show his new family what life was like, from his fall from heaven, to life in hell. They believe him while not believing him. It is when strange things start happening, people start getting hurt when Sal is around, saying things that would normally never come out of their mouths, that people start asking questions. Those questions lead to many dark desires that the Bliss family has to fight.
This is not your run of the mill sweet YA book. Firstly, I checked and it’s labeled Literary Adult although at first I could have sworn it was YA. What starts off as a sweet feeling quickly moves to all the complex problems this community is dealing with and the ways in which the community thinks it can solve those issues.
There is a moment when Sal tells a story about being a boy unloved by his parents but it is never truly known by the characters in the book if Sal is the real deal or just a boy that sees a lot around him. He knows so much about people he just met but he also falls for a girl. Can the devil fall in love?
This was unputdownable. Amazing story telling and narration. I’m either recommending this or buying it for everyone for Halloween. It’s that good.
|Overall:||5 / 5|