Finished Melt by Selene Castrovilla.  I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Based on true events, MELT is both a chilling tale of abuse, and a timeless romance. MELT will hit you like a punch in the face, and also seep through the cracks in your soul.

MELT is a brutal love story set against the metaphorical backdrop of The Wizard of Oz (not a retelling). When sixteen year old Dorothy moves to the small town of Highland Park, she meets, and falls for 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?

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?”

I absolutely loved this!

First, a word of caution: this book depicts abuse.  It doesn’t feel gratuitous but horrible things happen in this book, and you should know that going in.  This is a hard, sad book.

Also, Dorothy and Joey are a case of insta-love…but somehow for them, it worked.  I do believe that you can be immediately drawn to people, and it’s obvious that, while their relationship moves very quickly, they do care about each other.  (Also, since it’s based on a true story, it’s also possible that maybe it was a case of love at first sight in real life.  I would like to know more about the story behind this novel.)

The thing that I loved best about it is the writing.  Joey’s chapters are, for the most part, told in scattered verse.  His words are all over the page and it reflects the chaos of his life.  (There’s one chapter where he writes in complete sentences and a “normal” style and I thought that was such a smart and interesting choice.)  By contrast, Dorothy’s chapters are mostly the normal style (except for one specific part, when it more resembles Joey’s thought process).  I really enjoyed that, and it was a very unique way to express just how different they are.

Another amazing thing is the fact that, while this is not exactly a cheery book, there’s such a sense of hope throughout.  I love the idea that, even though you’re in this horrible situation, it doesn’t have to define you.  There’s always a chance to change things.  And that really shone through in this book.  Joey’s in a horrible situation but that doesn’t make him a horrible person, and just because his father is seriously one of the worst characters I’ve ever read, that doesn’t mean that Joey deserves the treatment he gets.

Seeing Joey work to improve his life was a really satisfying experience as a reader.  I love the growth that he shows during this novel (and the selfless love that Dorothy had for him—even though ending the relationship would be the easiest thing to do, she refuses to give up on him or them).

Highly recommended.


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