Review: The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Literary Fiction 

Goodreads blurb:

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. 


I often feel that when I finish a really fantastic book that it is harder for me to write a review on it than it is to write one for a book that was just alright for me. I went through such a wide and varied range of emotions while reading this one that it is rather difficult to process my thoughts and feelings, much less put them into words that give this piece of work the credit that it is due, but I will do my best.

This is yet another book where I feel the reader should go into it knowing as little as possible, so I apologize in advance if I’m annoyingly vague. The story is told from the perspective of Fielding Bliss, who is now elderly but was thirteen in the summer of 1984 when the devil came to his town of Breathed, Ohio. The town itself is its own character as the heart and soul of this book is based on this town on the brink. It’s apparent from the get go that terrible things will happen in Breathed during the summer, but what actually takes place is deeper and more bothersome than anyone could possibly imagine.

I’m amazed that this is McDaniel’s debut novel as she writes like a seasoned pro. Her use of language is powerful, hypnotic and haunting and the symbolism has such a lyrical beauty to it. On top of her stellar writing, she is unabashedly bold in the topics she covers. She tackles, racism, homophobia, abuse, death, AIDS, and cult like mentalities. All very heavy, but somehow, despite the seriousness of all of these topics, she manages to bring such a profound clarity to important issues. Every single character is well crafted and complex, from Autopsy, Stella, Grand, Sal, Eloheim and the various residents of Breathed. I was very engrossed in these people’s lives and invested in what their outcome would be, even if I knew that there were ominous things ahead. 

For me, one sign of a great book is when it makes me feel. Well, I really felt a plethora of things both during and since I finished this. I was heartbroken, angry, saddened, devastated, in utter disbelief, but most importantly to me, I felt like this was like no other book I have read before, it is in its own unique and original category and I cannot wait to see what McDaniel comes up with next.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Chelsea at The Suspense Is Thrilling Me and the author for my copy.

31 thoughts on “Review: The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

  1. rashthedoctor says:

    I agree with your sentiments regarding books , i had mentioned the same in one of my reviews , in fact that rule applies for me everywhere , books , tv , movies , comics etc . A Good Book/TV/Movie/Comics is one that draws emotions out of me .

    Brilliant review , putting this book on my TBR ASAP

    Liked by 1 person

    • novelgossip says:

      Thanks so much! I know this type of book isn’t for everyone but it worked for me. I think Jill DNF and I can see why it’s not appealing for everyone. It has a slower quality that could make it hard to get into. That’s a good point, great movies, tv shows, etc make you feel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rashthedoctor says:

        Yep , to the annoyance of most of my friends I never liked Pulp fiction or the Godfather (i know . I know ) and that’s the reason i gave them , it didn’t draw out any emotions from me .

        yeah i was thinking whom i saw a review from that said they didn’t finish it , I guess i also saw another review (don’t remember who) that praised it , and basically you just said the magic words “Emotions From Book” so I’ll definitely give it a try πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • novelgossip says:

        Both of those movies are ok, I can see why they’re super popular but I can see why they didn’t bring out your emotional side 😜 hope you enjoy it I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts

        Liked by 1 person

      • rashthedoctor says:

        You might have to wait though , i have a planned schedule of books to read first , but don’t worry i shall read it , i just bought the kindle edition

        Liked by 1 person

      • novelgossip says:

        Oh I get that, I have a schedule to follow too! I love that you do too, I’ve often wondered if that’s weird? I would be so confused if I didn’t have it all on my calendar. I’ve thought about making a discussion post about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rashthedoctor says:

        i just have a mental schedule , i guess i should have one physically on the calendar as well. That said i just have a list of what I’ll read in what order , i don’t keep a finish date coz life can come in the way of me finishing a book .

        for e.g lately none of my patients have been having any complications , none are in ICU or need critical care , ergo i get time to finish the books and so most of my latest reads have been completed in a week or so . But things aren’t always like that , it took me 3 months to finish Memories of Fallen , and granted it was 1100 pages long but still it took me a lot of time to finish because i was loaded at work

        do make that discussion post , I’ll be looking forward to it

        Liked by 1 person

      • novelgossip says:

        See, if I went by a schedule in my head I would be screwed! I have to write it down or I forget everything, it’s awful. But seeing it as a list can be daunting. That book would scare me with that length πŸ˜±πŸ™ˆ

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Payton's Book Thoughts says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! When I read an amazing book it’s so hard to write a review (especially getting it started). The best books are the ones that can pull many different emotions out of the reader! Glad you are still picking out great books!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diana says:

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I got it recently and can’t wait to read it soon.I have only seen positive reviews about it though one reviewer remarked that the pacing is really slow. I still look forward to reading it though especially after reading this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • novelgossip says:

      Thank you! It is a little slow but I found that to be melodic and a big hypnotizing. Sometimes slow pacing bothers me but as this wasn’t a thriller it didn’t bug me. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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