Monday, November 17, 2014

Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Author: Selene Castrovilla 
Goodreads Rating: 3.75
Pages: 270 
Format: ARC 

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 would probably not have picked up Melt if it was not recommended to me. Once I had it in my hands, though, the alternating point of views and verse shifts intrigued me. Just by flipping through it, I wanted to know what it was about and what led to Selene Castrovilla’s style choices.

 Once I started reading, I found the first few pages are wrenching with tough imagery surrounding a very difficult subject. But they were just wrenching and tough enough to pull me in more. I wanted to know what would happen to this boy, broken in his thoughts as well as his home. I wanted to know more about Dorothy, this girl who suddenly appears in his life, as the Dorothy of popular culture appears in Oz.

What follows is a very emotional and evocative story of two teenagers struggling to find a home, metaphorically and physically. I understand why Selene chose "The Wizard of Oz" to draw upon. Sometimes the comparisons feel a bit too heavy and I almost wish that the author had been more subtle but I think it worked well enough.

I usually hate repetition as well but in Joey’s chapters, the repetition works. Like a broken record, Joey’s mind skips over things and gets stuck. It’s really fascinating to see his development. In some ways, this novel felt like it was too long and too short at the same time. I would have loved to see more of the characters and their reactions to things happening to and around them. But I understand that this was meant to be a short glimpse at their lives after they meet and get to know each other.

There was a certain realism to this novel that also pleased me. Dorothy knew that she could not change Joey but deep down she wanted to. I think that this accurately portrays relationships, especially centered around addiction. Dorothy was not weak enough to annoy but also not strong enough to be a Mary Sue. I do think that there was the case of “insta love” here, though. I would have liked to see them get to know each other a little bit more before falling head over heels. However, that didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

I really liked this. It was a very interesting read. I think that the really awful subject, domestic abuse and addiction, was treated well. I think the characters reacted realistically and appropriately for the situation, even if it was awful and heartbreaking. And I was not expecting that ending at all. That ending was pretty incredible. It was such a powerful and intense way to end such a dramatic novel.

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