Monday, June 23, 2014

MELT ~ The Full Circle of Domestic Abuse

This is my last official post before my summer break. Technically, I'm on a family vacation, right now, but wanted to share this amazing book with you. I'll be popping in and out, but will return to my regular schedule in mid to late August. 
My heart pounded as I read every word of Dorothy and Joey's story. Though long-fought and denied, love and genuine care for another can make all the difference in the world. 

That is what I typed directly after I'd finished reading this story. My heartache over the domestic abuse Joey went through dug deep within me. I've shared just how deep below. 

MELT by Selene Castrovilla

Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: November 2014
Pages: 328

I'd like to thank the publisher for supplying me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Description: 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.

Favorite Lines/Passage: Joey's POV:

Late late late
It's late. 
I wake in the black
to the racket
in the air reaching up up
up from 
Pop's cursing like a madman
high on whiskey no doubt
like a caged panther I'm
he's screeching he's howling I'll bet he's
barking through the window at the
He crashes
he smashes
he bashes
Mom too I know.
      My clock glares red from my night stand it's 1:56
      My mouth tastes sour.
       I lean over the edge of my bed grope for the
of my Bacardi 151. I keep it tucked under the bed for nights like this and they're pretty
nights like this.


My Splats: Follow the journey of a boy emotionally dulled by domestic abuse and the girl who sees life, love, and hope in him. 

This is a young adult story for the ages. Sounds clique, but true. It explores the world of domestic violence - a world all too often hidden from most. Just as adult victims, children/teens existing in such an environment are molded by what they see and feel. And it takes its tole. 

From the outside, opinions can be told about Joey. He's rough, tough, and known for trouble. No one in their small town wants to know why. Most would rather gossip about him being no good and a loser. But, as with most things in life, what is visible on the outside is far, far from reality. 

Physically, Joey is a big guy, built, and quite attractive. Dorothy is new in town and notices him, because of those traits. But for her, there's something more. Her parents work in the psychiatric field and she's developed a feel for people. She feels something off about Joey, that he's not what the other kids are telling her he is. 

Joey is soft and deep, on a primitive level. He'd already chalked up the dream everyone wants--a good home, caring family, and love--to fantasy. In Joey's world, all those things that are supposed to equate to love are lies, a mere facade painted on your skin so people don't know. He does love ... his booze and fighting. It helps him forget what he has to go home to. For Joey, his home symbolizes a prison stained in tainted memories of beatings, guilt for not helping his mother, and places his dad kept him to keep him out of the way when he was younger. 

And Dorothy sees that. Not the abuse at first, but his desire to be more than he is right now, his want for happiness and hope that he's not ready to admit yet. She senses his loneliness and a tension stirring inside him. She decides to wait on him, let him emerge on his own. 

For Joey, Dorothy slowly becomes his hope and courage--a belief there might be more to life than this. But he's so afraid she'll get hurt like his mom.  

The writing brilliantly captures the essence of domestic abuse and its lingering affects. It's told from duel point-of-views, which adds such depth to the tale I don't think it could have been written any other way. Joey's POV is visual, too. As I've shown above, the author structured the words in a linear fashion down the left side of the page. Sometimes using a single word, while other times a few words. This gave a tangible view of his brokenness, his vulnerability. 

My only issue with the story was how Dorothy met a few friends at the beginning and then it's as if those kids just disappeared once she began talking to Joey.  

NOTE: there is vulgarity in the opening, but the piece is so powerful that it's easily overlooked. Honestly, holy wow! Let me rephrase. The opening to this story so overwhelmed me, the blanket of helplessness was so heavy, I got a stomachache. All I could think was 'God help them'. And I couldn't stop reading.

Have you ever read a book about domestic violence? 

 photo Sheri2.png


  1. I was a foster parent for 4 years, so I'm very familiar with abuse. I even used it in one of my books.

    1. Foster parents are amazing people, giving of themselves. Thanks for all you've done. I can't imagine the abuse you've been privy to. I have a friend who's fostered children and ended up adopting three - their backgrounds would scare the strongest of us.

  2. Sounds amazing. Abuse is such a horribly ugly thing that no one wants to see. I will have to add this to my list.

    And enjoy your vacation!

    1. We're having a wonderful, relaxing time on our vacation. It's been a long time coming. Thanks!

      Yes, abuse is ugly and something no one wants to see. That's one reason I liked this story so much. She stayed true to abuse victims even when it got ugly.

  3. Wow. With such a powerful and explosive sounding beginning, It's no wonder you you read it through to the end and felt every pain with the characters.

    1. It really is. I couldn't help but 'feel' for the characters. So, so powerful.

  4. This book sounds very intense, guaranteed to make me weep! I wonder, though, if I'll ever "take" to a novel in verse : / Happy Family Vacation and Summer! :D

    1. I wouldn't so much call it 'written in verse'. One POV is written just like most stories are written, while Joey's POV is presented (meaning the words are lined vertically) in a way that gives a visual effect of what's happening to him emotionally. I loved this part.

  5. Wow--this sounds like a fascinating read!

  6. Awesome. One of my critique partners wrote a book about domestic violence, and it's been an interesting ride, helping her through some of the developmental aspects. My heart just bleeds every time I touch the subject. I like to stay far, far away and reserve my tears for the real-life cases I come across.

  7. Wow, after that review, how can I not read this?

  8. Great review for Selen's book, Sheri. Glad it's coming out with such positive feedback.

  9. man, that was fantastic!!! enjoy your summer and hope to see you real soon :D hugs

    1. Aw...thanks so much! Enjoy your summer, too.

  10. I don't think I've read a book about domestic violence before, but I will be sure to catch this one. Thanks for the great review!

    Have a wonderful vacation, and enjoy your time away from blogging! See you when you get back! :)

  11. Thanks for the review! Always great to learn about new books worth reading. :)

  12. Wow! This sounds like a powerful read. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation! Enjoy every minute. :)

  13. Yay for Selene! She was in an MFA writing class with me and she's a great writer. Plus, her book cover is amazing!

  14. Wow, this looks like a powerful book. I think it has a creative style between the 2 POVs. I wish it were on Amazon, so I could add it to my wishlist.

  15. Hi, Sheri!! I know you've been away from blogging for a while, but wanted to let you know that you have an award waiting for you over at my blog when you get back. Hope you've had a great summer!! :)


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