The Summer that Melted Everything (Spoiler Free!) Review

“Sometimes the things we believe we hear are really just our own shifting needs.”

-Tiffany McDaniel, The Summer that Melted Everything

Hey guys! To celebrate The Summer that Melted Everything releasing in paperback today in the US, (the UK paperback is out July 6th), I was sent a copy of the gorgeous hardback by its author, Tiffany McDaniel to review. Thank you!


The Summer that Melted Everything is set in the small town of Breathed, Ohio, in 1984. The main character and our narrator, Fielding Bliss, tells us the story of when he was a boy and his father, Autopsy Bliss, wrote a letter inviting the devil to stay with them. (Metaphorically, of course-you’ll find out the reason for this in the book.) Nobody in their family could have predicted who’d show up-Sal, a thirteen year old boy who claims he’s the devil.

Along with Sal’s arrival comes an unbearable heatwave, and the combination of both events sends this little town into a frenzy-strange accidents happen, the tension rises along with the temperature, and it’s not long before some of the residents of Breathed believe Sal is exactly who he says he is-the devil.

Split between that fateful summer of 1984, and flash-fowards to Fielding’s life as a man in his eighties, remembering different pivotal points of his life, this book examines the characters of Fielding and his family, Sal, and the friends and neighbours in their small, Southern town. Without overloading us, McDaniel presents us with complex, three-dimensional characters that we learn throughout this book as we witness their loves and mistakes, their back stories and fates. I especially enjoyed reading about the deep love between Fielding’s parents; as a book that examines the human condition, replete with flaws, I was expecting their long marriage to be difficult in some way, but it is gentle and loving and sweet. A lovely backdrop against the other tragedies that unfold over the course of this book.

This is not one to read if you’re feeling sad; The Summer that Melted Everything takes on a whole host of serious issues, racism, homophobia, psychological issues and the relationships between friends and family are all examined within the vast scope of this novel. In my opinion, McDaniel does this brilliantly, with some twists that I didn’t see coming, keeping me intrigued throughout the unfolding plot. It is a heavy hitter though, and a darker novel than I expected-prepare yourself for some shocking events! {I’ve included a list of trigger warnings at the bottom of this post-there are some spoilers there, so skip it if you’d rather not know!}

The setting of a heat-ravaged small town in Ohio was vividly conjured and left me longing for ice cream or a dip in a pool as I was reading! I could practically feel the suffocating heat that enclosed the characters in this novel. This was my first book that I’ve read that’s been set in Ohio, and although I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I really enjoyed it! It’s eloquently written to a high standard, and is the type of book that lingers in your mind after you’ve read it. I’m giving this one 4/5 stars.

If you’re looking for some literary fiction to read this summer, then I definitely recommend The Summer that Melted Everything be added to your tbrs! It’s intriguing, dark and thought-provoking, and will certainly provide some food for thought!

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think? Or will anyone be adding this to their summer tbrs? Let me know!


This book is one of the contenders to receive a prize in the author’s native Ohio, so if you’ve read and loved The Summer that Melted Everything, take a second out of your day to vote for it on this link, because Tiffany definitely deserves to win an award for this one!


{Trigger Warnings: Bullying, abuse, death, blood, suicide, accidents, burning, racism, homophobia, rain phobia leaving someone housebound. Feel free to email me to ask questions/discuss if you’re unsure/worried about anything!}



3 Comments Add yours

  1. I don’t think I would read this book… I like books that make me feel happy rather than sad. But I really enjoyed reading your review! It does sound like a very interesting story 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand that! I read all kinds of books but I always read happy ones in the evenings when I’m winding down ☺️ thanks for reading my review! 😘💕


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