by Selene Castrovilla
Overview (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?
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: This was one of those moments where I decided to be an idiot and make assumptions about a book. Obviously I have a mildly unhealthy obsession with all things Oz. So I saw the cover of melt (the yellow brick road), glanced at the description and saw the words, “The Wizard of Oz” and clicked request. As it turns out, I really should’ve tamped down on my excitement and read the description in full. When will I learn?
Melt is definitely not a retelling or revamped version of The Wizard of Oz (I know the overview states that, but I’m guessing I’m not the only that has a tendency to only glance at an overview). It is a very real story of abuse, which is not the easiest subject to read about, whether you’ve experienced it or not. There were only a few connections to The Wizard of Oz. One of the main characters is named Dorothy and every chapter begins with a quote from the book, The Wizard of Oz. There was also a minor part where Dorothy is watching TV with her parents and they stop and watch the movie.
The main characters, Dorothy and Joey, were an interesting pair. I thought their chemistry seemed mostly realistic. It did move much faster than any relationship I can compare it with. I also didn’t really understand the “feelings” they had for each other from the moment they shook hands. I understand that from a fictional perspective, but it seemed out-of-place in Melt.
The story wasn’t a carefree read. There was a lot of abuse and I’m only guessing it was accurate. There is an interview with the author at the end where she explains this was all based on a real person’s story. Frankly, it’s scary that things like this happen to people and on a pretty regular basis. I felt so bad for Joey, not just because of what was happening to him, his mom and brothers, but also because no one bothered to take the time to stop and help him.
Some of it was also difficult to read from a grammatical and layout point of view. I don’t know if it was supposed to be spaced the way it was, but it was annoying to have the majority of words only on the left side of my screen versus the whole page. In the beginning it was also a tad aggravating reading the parts from Joey’s perspective because the grammar was atrocious. Strangely enough when he spoke it wasn’t noticeable, but his thoughts were hard to get through in the beginning. I did like that it switched between Dorothy’s perspective and Joey’s. That made their story easier to believe.
Overall I really enjoyed Melt (I feel weird saying I enjoyed a book about abuse, but you catch my drift). It was heartfelt and sweet beneath all of the pain. My take away was that everyone needs to find that person who can help you shine a little bit of light in your life (it hit me and I started to feel a little something). I don’t if that was the author’s intent or what she wanted readers to take away from reading Melt. I would recommend Melt, mostly because I was surprised by how much it hit me when I can’t relate to any of the characters’ experiences.
4 out of 5 Bookmarks = I’m still shocked at how much I enjoyed reading it.