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The Summer that Melted Everything

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  7,213 ratings  ·  1,581 reviews
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984:
the year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio.
The year he became friends with the devil.

When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expected that he would turn up. They especially didn't expect him to turn up a tatte
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
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Erin What type of being other than an egomaniacal sadist would create a world and allow unbearable suffering among children and innocents while demanding w…moreWhat type of being other than an egomaniacal sadist would create a world and allow unbearable suffering among children and innocents while demanding worship? Using a separate being as a sacrifice to earn "paradise" that is supposedly more worship of the being only adds to the farce. Considering suffering a "spectator sport" is the most polite way to describe the Christian god and many of its followers.(less)
Cheryl I actually skyped with Tiffany, the author of the book this Friday. When Fielding is talking it is in the future. But that wasn't important to the sto…moreI actually skyped with Tiffany, the author of the book this Friday. When Fielding is talking it is in the future. But that wasn't important to the story so she didn't go into detail about technology and all the futuristic things that go along with that.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Jennifer Masterson
I am a mess! I mean an emotional wreck! I have a migraine from crying! This is the best book that I have come across since "A Little Life". If I could give it 10 Stars I would! 11? I cannot believe that this is a debut novel!

I'm not going to give a plot summery. I think this book transcends it's plot. I want to share my feelings. This book moved me in a way I haven't been moved in so long. I listened to the audio version. For an audio to be this good it takes one heck of a narrator. Mark Bramhal
Chelsea Humphrey
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think something deep in my soul has shifted after reading this book. My gut is still churning after turning the final page 2 days ago, and its been years since a book brought me to the brink of tears. I read more psychological thrillers and dark fiction than one human likely should, yet none of that seemed as horrific as what I just read. Don’t misunderstand- this isn’t some bloodbath horror tale with cheesy specters of the devil and his minions. The only apparition in this story is a 13 year ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, gothic
”It was a heat that didn’t just melt tangible things like ice, chocolate, Popsicles. It melted all the intangibles too. Fear, faith, anger, and those long-trusted templates of common sense. It melted lives as well, leaving futures to be slung with the dirt of the gravedigger’s shovel.”

 photo Slipping Away_zpshbzonjfa.jpg
Slipping Away by Tiffany McDaniel. If you preorder the book you can sign up here Tiffany McDaniel's Preorder Contest to win some cool stuff including a signed print of this watercolor.

The heat wave that hit Br
Always Pouting
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I really really loved this book. I know people didn't like the metaphorical writing but I always have been a sucker for poetic writing. I like when books make me question the way I think about things and I enjoy symbolism and when things are woven so intricately with the plot line. Like the story is just so well woven and elegant and the author just expressed things so eloquently. It all just fit together so perfectly and I really felt affected when reading the book. Definitely a favorite. ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
after seeing the news on mel's review:

i figured i would help spread the word, too, because this book could definitely use an award. if you agree, vote for it here:

”That’s the ending of the story,” he said. “Something broken.”

this is a darkly satisfying southern gothic tale of what transpired when a lawyer named autopsy bliss invited the devil to the small town of breathed, ohio in 1984.

the problem with extending an i
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I thought this was a young adult book when I requested it from Netgalley. Umm it's not. Not that I have a problem with that, I love some dark 'stick-your-head-in-the-oven' books.

Dark is good sometimes.

Palm Springs commercial photography

This one though, took me awhile to read because I had to put it aside several times because dang..
Palm Springs commercial photography

I will say that 1984 was a year that understood how to make history. Apple launched it's Macintosh computer for the masses, two astronauts walked the stars like gods, and singer Marvin Gaye, wh
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
"Up I go, up so high,
I pray I do not fall and die.

But if I should, let it be said,
I'm mighty missed, now that I'm dead."
~ from Tiffany McDaniel's The Summer That Melted Everything

(Hot weather/ Source - Steve Rasnic Tem, Pinterest)

"It was a heat that didn't just melt tangible things like ice, chocolate, popsicles. It melted all the intangibles too. Fear, faith, anger, and those long-trusted templates of common sense."

The Summer That Melted Everything is beautiful, poetic, profound, captivat
Aug 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dismal Dirge for Q anon Crowd
Published in Summer 2016, as an Omen of Trump’s Election
I wanted to hear the water go down the drains so I wouldn't have to hear myself doing the same.
Miss McDaniel peppers her baroque prose with such eyerollers. Here's another: "something about his eyes made me think of Russia. Perhaps because they were so large, the largest country in the world of his face."

No coherent theme gels as the novel attempts to throw in every social ill collected in a file by the author
Elyse  Walters
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ok....update: A SMALL REVIEW ... but read OTHERS. This community has written amazing ones!!!

I'm changing my vote -- SO FAR....( still waiting to read The Nix and The Gentleman From Moscow)... but as of today....I vote this book ( of books I've read) , BEST FICTION in the Goodreads voting.


"Why, upon hearing the word 'Devil', did I just imagine the monster? Why did I fail to see the lake? A flower growing by the lake? A mantis praying on the very top of a rock?"
"A foolish mistake, it is,
Dan Schwent
During a heat wave in the summer of 1984, Fielding Bliss's father invites the devil to town. When a 13 year old boy shows up claiming to be the devil, the Ohio town of Breathed will never be the same again...

I passed on this when I originally saw it on Netgalley, mostly because of Autopsy Bliss's name. Seriously? Autopsy? Anyway, Tiffany McDaniel emailed me a review request, mentioning how hard it was for first time authors to get reviews, and I caved in after my Grinch-like heart grew two sizes
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism, arc
“Don’tcha wanta live forever?”
“I’m the devil. I am already forever.”


Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year his father, Autopsy Bliss, invited Breathed’s own devil.

“Dear Mr. Devil, Sir Satan, Lord Lucifer, and all other crosses you bear,
I cordially invite you to Breathed, Ohio. Land of hills and hay bales, of sinners and forgivers.
May you come in peace.
With great faith,
Autopsy Bliss”

And on a particularly warm day in June 1984
Larry H
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
I'd rate this 4.5 stars.

It's the summer of 1984 in the small town of Breathed, Ohio. Fielding Bliss is a fairly typical teenager until the day his father, Autopsy (is Autopsy Bliss not one of the best character names you've ever heard?), the town's prosecutor, puts in the newspaper an invitation for the devil to visit Breathed.

"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
This is just me, this is just me, so hold your horses!

I’m not saying that this isn’t a brilliant work of fiction—it certainly is. I’m just saying it’s not for me. First, we have a devil dude as the hero. I can maybe handle a devil if I open myself up to magical realism, which is tough, but I can do it if I try really hard. But I have a cow if a book is full of the word “god,” and here it’s all over the place. I mean it seems like the name came up a million times. I know the book is not trying t
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Breathed, Ohio is a small town in southern Ohio, in the Appalachian foothills, bordering West Virginia and Kentucky. Fielding Bliss is 13 years old, his brother Grand will be leaving for college soon enough, his father, Autopsy is an attorney, and his mother is a stay-at-home mom, literally. She used to go places, but it’s been years since she’s left the shelter of their home.

“I once heard someone refer to Breathed as the scar of the paradise we lost. So it was in many ways, a place with a perf
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
An incredible novel, genuinely different from anything I've read before.

I've taken a few days to think about this book before writing a review. It's one of those novels that haunt the mind by asking the kind of questions that cut straight to the heart of who you are. Despite the 80s setting, the themes are so relevant, so pertinent that it made for an extremely uncomfortable read. Racism. Homophobia. Mob mentality. Religious extremism. Just when you are busy congratulating yourself that you don
Reread 2017 - 5 stars.

Tiffany McDaniel has done something truly unique with this novel. As a debut novel (though I know from conversations I've had with her that this is not the first book that she's written, just the first published) she is able to do something that has not happened to me very often in my reading life. She has made this feel like I'm not reading. This has never felt like a book for me, this has felt like something I've lived. Like something someone I love has lived. This has fe
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a weird, strange, engrossing book this is. It defies description. Beautifully written and with ideas that will have you thinking for days. Like the idea that hell is a place without Hope or that the devil prays for forgiveness. But the story itself grabs you. Is this young boy truly the devil?

I love that the author chooses 1984 as the year the novel takes place. The book constantly harkens back to Orwell’s novel with its groupthink and ideas of “truth”. But it's also a book that fits with
Diane S ☔
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first thing I noticed when I started reading this novel was the tone, the writing. Southern gothic in Southern Ohio? Okay, I can go with that. Know little about Southern, Ohio so maybe it has more Southern in it than I thought. Takes place over the course of a single summer, a summer with an unprecedented heat wave, a summer that will change forever a family and the people in this town. The summer a devil appeared in answer to an invitation tendered by Autopsy Bliss. A devil that appears to ...more
Debbie "DJ"
Holy moly, this is McDaniel's debut novel? It is my favorite read so far this year, and spoke to me like few books do.

It's the 80's and McDaniel starts by reminding us of the hysteria over child abuse at the time. I remember the McMartain trial, the social workers giving children toy dolls, asking leading questions, dooming innocent caretakers as pedophiles. It was also the decade we learned of AIDS, how many believed God was exacting judgement for those who defiled Him. These memories set the s
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

Posted in the newspaper, a formal invitation is extended to the devil requesting his presence in Breathed, Ohio. A heat wave ensues, the likes of which has not been seen before in this small town. Tempers flare, bad feelings smolder, hot words bubble from the lips of those who are typically slow to anger. A sort of madness descends, and all common sense melts away.

And now, here is a young boy in tattered overalls with a pure love of ice crea
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ɗẳɳ 2.☊ by: Dan Schwent
Shelves: literary-fiction
“You can tell a lot about a man by what he does with a snake.”

Autopsy Bliss is a prosecuting attorney in the small town of Breathed, Ohio. A religious man who believes that the courtroom, when ran correctly, should function like “God’s filter,” trapping all the devils of the world. As the court’s attorney, the responsibility falls on him to sift out those devils. However, he suffers a crisis of faith, after discovering he’d sent an innocent man to his death—a man in whose guilt he was absolutely
Irena BookDustMagic
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3.75 stars. I'm struggling with my reaction to The Summer That Melted Everything. Set in a small town in Ohio in the 1980s, the story is narrated by Fielding Bliss who was 13 during the summer when the story takes place. It was a ridiculously hot summer, and Fielding and his family welcomed a homeless black teenaged boy who presented himself as the "devil" -- aka Sal -- in response to an ad Fielding's father placed in the local paper. Following Sal's arrival, the town and Fielding's family are p ...more
Edward Lorn
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. But maybe not TL?
Recommended to Edward by: Dan Schwent
I could go on for days about how well written this book is. I will not do that, though. You can judge for yourself how amazing are the turns of phrase and similes and metaphors. McDaniel knows her way around the written word. You can feel her attention to detail in every line. The word "masterful" comes to mind.

I hesitate to recommend this book to some of you. Unfortunately, the list of people who this book might break over its knee is far too long to name each and every one of you. Up until the
Sam Quixote
Nov 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
FUCKING HORRIBLE. That’s the only way to describe Tiffany McDaniel’s The Summer That Melted Everything!

My head aches just thinking about this garbage… it’s about a Southern kid in the 1980s who meets another kid called Sal who claims to be the Devil (the first two letters from Satan and the first letter of Lucifer = SAL. Faceplant). Southern summers are mighty hot. To make this seem like an intelligent novel, here are some quotes from Paradise Lost ‘cos Sal is a sort of sad and tragic Devil li
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-for-me
2.5 Stars

I Guess I couldn’t take the heat…………………….

The Summer that melted everything is a unique and interesting story set in Breathed, Ohio. A deep and dark story of the summer the Devil comes to town in the form of a teenager called Sal and a series of horrific events occur and the reader must decide whether these events are actually the work of the devil or humans. Of course the town are quick to point the finger at Sal but could a fifteen year old teenager really be the devil in disguis
Andrew Smith
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Make no mistake, this is a book that’ll suck you in, chew you up and spit out the gristly bits. It’s slow to get going but from the mid-point onward it’s intense, very intense. And the last section of the book might just leave you an emotional wreck. So choose a good day, a happy time, to pick this one up.

Set in a small town in Ohio in 1984, we are introduced to the fact that it’s the beginning of the hottest, driest Summer anyone can remember. We meet a family, the parents and their two sons: F
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I love this author. Her writing speaks for itself, and I cannot wait to pick up her newest, Betty, today.

EPIC! This book was absolutely epic. I crawled inside this story, and I did not want it to end. I lived with the Bliss family during that hot summer of 1984, and I was attached to each character who was beautifully drawn, yet deeply flawed -- and all so real and genuine. The issues of 1984 are still relevant today. The writing has incredible flow and pacing, and the descriptions, wow. I foun
Sep 13, 2016 added it
Shelves: debut
The Hook - The tug of war that comprise the force of good vs. evil. The outcome of what happens when the devil comes to call.

The Line - ”Sometimes I think not having tears meant we cried even more.”

The Sinker - A beautifully written debut novel with a creative take on a story that’s been told many ways before.

The Summer That Melted Everything has received lots of praise. I was not certain I wanted to read it but there it was sitting on the library shelf and before I knew it, it was in my book
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
“You can tell a lot about a man by what he does with a snake.”

Fielding Bliss looks back on the life-altering summer of 1984, when his father invited the devil to their hometown of Breathed, Ohio. The invitation is accepted by Sal, a thirteen-year-old black boy who claims to be the devil. After his arrival, an overbearing heat descends upon Breathed and tragic events begin to occur with frequency. The townspeople fixate on Sal and view him with suspicion. Is Sal actually the devil or just a runa
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Tiffany McDaniel is a novelist, poet, and visual artist born and raised in Ohio. She is the author of The Summer That Melted Everything and BETTY.

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“A snake that could harm you, you don’t have much choice to kill. You wouldn’t be able to leave a cobra in your sock drawer. But a snake that is no threat will greatly define the man who decides to kill it anyways.” 53 likes
“A foolish mistake, it is, to expect the beast, because sometimes, sometimes, it is the flower's turn to own the name.” 37 likes
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