MELT is a brutal love story, set against the backdrop of The Wizard of Oz. Sixteen year old “good girl” Dorothy just blew into the small town of Highland Park – where the social headquarters is Munchkinland (Dunkin’ Donuts.) There, she meets Joey – a “bad boy” who tells no one about the catastrophic domestic violence he witnesses at home. Can these two lovers survive peer pressure, Joey’s reputation, and his alcoholism? And then there’s his family’s secret – about to be unleashed.
Told in dual first person, Joey’s words are scattered on the page – reflecting his broken state. Dorothy is the voice of reason – until something so shattering happens that she, too, may lose her grip. Can their love endure, or will it melt away?
MELT is based on true events. It is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. It will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul.
Why did I pick this up?
This is easy to answer – I agreed to be part of the blog tour. I didn’t read the blurb ahead of time, so I had no idea what to expect. Holy wow!
I was intrigued. The first chapter was in free verse, not prose and I thought the whole book would be in poetic form. Instead, the chapters alternated. I thought it a little ironic that Joey, the male character, was written in verse and Dorothy, the female character, was written in prose. I expected it to be opposite, especially once we got a glimpse into Joey’s life. His life is anything but poetic.
When I was hooked.
I was reading Melt as I waited for my daughter to dance at an Irish dance competition, called a feis. If you’ve ever been to a feis, you know that there are lots of distractions – multiple dancers on stage, loud tapping during the hard shoe rounds. And, yet, I was engrossed in the book. The competition melted away. I realized that my heart was racing, not because my daughter was about to dance, but because of the story line. I had trouble putting it down afterward.
References to The Wizard of Oz are intertwined within the story. At first, I struggled with why. Why The Wizard of Oz? Then, it came to me. Much like the Wizard, people aren’t always what they appear to be on the outside “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Appearances can be deceiving. ”Bad boys” can be good. Something can be good on the outside and rotten in the middle. Much like Dorothy Gale of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy in Melt is dropped into a world where appearances are not always what they seem. It’s a world where unimaginable horrors are around the corner – maybe not the flying monkeys or talking trees of Oz, but terrors more horrifying than Dorothy could ever have imagined are real.
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The subject matter and the parts written in poetry reminded me of something Ellen Hopkins would write.
I’d been in a bit of a reading drought. I’d read a few books this year, but nothing that was memorable. Melt changed that for me. It reminded me of why I love to read. My heart was literally pounding during one of the most intense scenes. I couldn’t put it down. I felt compelled when I was done to email the blog tour organizer “Just finished this book and WOW!!”
Looking through the reviews posted on Goodreads, it looks like a lot of other readers felt the same way.
Pick this book up when it’s released. Be prepared for a fast-paced, emotional ride.