Book Review: The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

the summer that melted everything

Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date: July 26th, 2016
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: from Author for a review


Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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.



Here is the truth: this book is perfect.
When you look at every single element of this story, every single character, phrase and all of the parts of the plot, you get one perfect whole, compliteness that leaves you breathtaken in an absolutely literal way.

I am sorry if I already used the word perfection too many times at the very beginning of my review, but the truth is, I am lost for other words. This book, to me, was pure perfection.

It played with my emphaty in a way I can’t describe, it broke my heart, torn me apart and I am still picking myself up, days after I finished it.
I am lost for words and I already know that my review won’t do a justice to this masterpiece, but I will try my best.

The Summer That Melted Everything talks about summer in a year 1984, the year when the HIV virus was discovered and scientists gave it a name.
It takes place in Breathed, a small town in the West America, where people are still afraid of unknown and are very judgamental.

Even though this book contains more then few diverse elements (like gay people, black people and people with dwarfism), the way characters talk about people and things that are diverse or different is plain brutal.
For example, people say that AIDS is God’s punishment for gays, God’s tool to get rid of them.
Those kind of references you’d hear even from characters you’d like.
Keep in mind that it is 1984 and even though that kind of phrases were hard to read about, they also represent the reality of the story.

The novel is written in first person, following two different times: first being placed in 1984 when Fielding was a 13 years old boy and the second that takes place when Fielding is and old angry man, and we can see how much tool summer 1984 took on him, how happenings from that summer shaped him as a person and destroyed him in a way.

The writting style is astonshing. McDaniel’s voice is so beautiful. It is different from other voices I read and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that The Summer That Melted Everything is a piece of literary fiction.

This book reminded me how much I enjoy reading literary fiction, even though I don’t read it too often.

My opinion is that this book demands to be read more then once. I know I will reread it for sure in my close future.

This is not a happy book, it will probably leave you under an impression and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
I already knew this was a five stars read for me after I finished it, but I also learned to appreciate it even more after some time passed.
I would give it all the stars in the world.

This is the best book I have read this year and it is one of the best books I read in my lifetime.

Tiffany McDaniel surprised me with her debut novel and after reading only one book written by her, I already know I want to read everythig she’ll write in the future.

Recommending books is something I often do in my reviews, but if there’s one book I would recommend of all the books I liked, it would be this one.

I really, wholeheartedly recommend you to read this book!


23 thoughts on “Book Review: The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel”

  1. Sounds like a tough book, but that glowing review really sells it 🙂 I wouldn’t have guessed the topics from the blurb! Great review.
    On a little side note, are you referring to people with dwarfism? I believe the word you used is no longer used. I’ve heard that ‘little people’ is a better term, but I’m not that sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OmG, thank you so much for letting me know. As you probably know, English is not my native language and I actually thought that the word I used was the correct one. I feel so silly now! Will go and change that now bc I don’t want to upset anyone.
      And thank you for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t worry! It’s hard to know all the right words in English, especially since it’s an always-changing language. So please don’t feel silly, it was not my intention to make you feel bad<3

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad you enjoyed The Summer That Melted Everything as much as I did!! The story is brilliant and the writing is simply perfect. Tiffany created a masterpiece. This book is at the top of my favorite of the year. I read it in early July and I still remember everything so vividly. There are no right words to fully convey how powerful it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree with you, as you can imagine. I think this book is one of the best ones that came out this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got award nominations in the next few months (although I am not familiar with book prize scene).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ll be happy to know the book was shortlisted for The Guardian Booker Prize! I tend to avoid awarded books because they’re either too complicated (story or writing) or does not make any sense for me, but I am thrilled so many people submitted their reviews to The Guardian and it made it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. She certainly didn’t shy away from placing her characters in a realistic setting, by the sounds of it. This does seem like a very powerful book – quite upsetting really.

    I’d have to be feeling pretty good to pick up this book despite its amazing-ness, as I wouldn’t like to read it on a dark day!

    Liked by 1 person

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