Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Title: Melt
Author: Selene Castrovilla
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: November 6th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Last Syllable Books

Description via 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?


This book left me really torn on how to rate it. There were some things I absolutely loved and other things I hated just as much. I guess it evens out to about a three/three and a half star rating.

Let me first start off by saying this isn't a book I'll soon forget. It's gritty and real and addresses some pretty tough stuff. It has a haunting tone throughout that lingers even after you're done with it.

I loved Joey's perspective. That is, I found it the most unique and captivating. It's written in broken thoughts, in verse so his chapters are read like shaky poems. I really liked this reflection of how the abuse has left him broken and struggling. I liked seeing why he did what he did, and as horrific as his home life is, it was fascinating to read about in a morbid curiosity type of way. I liked watching his emotions and struggles with himself as he grows more attached to Dorothy even though he wants to keep her away. For me, Joey is what made this book worth reading.

Dorothy, on the other hand, I didn't care for. She is a rich girl who moves from the city to a small town and falls into instant connection with the attractive boy literally from the other side of the tracks. Her chapters are largely written in prose, which reads fine but a bit boring. I didn't really get why she victimizes pot so much. I'm not a smoker, and granted Joey does a lot of bad things, fighting, drinking, and drugs among them. But it was always brought back to pot which really just doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me. Personal irritation, I suppose. I also found it was weird that though both of her parents are acclaimed psychiatrists and have met Joey, they trash talk him and refuse to let her speak about him and what's really happening at home. It's kind of abuse 101, isn't it? Not being snarky at all, just genuinely concerned. If you know he's skittish and a trouble maker and you see his scars... Wouldn't you just assume.....?

There were allusions/parallels to the Wizard of Oz though not as many as I was expecting, but it still made for an interesting addition or slant to the idea of the story.

At the end of it all, I wasn't sure how I felt. I know that it's not how I was intended to feel (at least I hope not) but I kind of got the vibe that "hey if a boy drinks and pushes you and acts like his abusive alcoholic father, go hunt him down and he'll be changed because he really loves you." I get why Joey did what he did, but she doesn't at first. And I get why he's so attached to her from the beginning, abuse is a bitch that way. Once someone pays you the time of day, you get that connection. Speaking from experience. But the ending... I don't know. It didn't sit right with me. Especially since the story ended before the story ended. I won't call it a cliffhanger, because to my knowledge there isn't another book, but I was left going what?

This book deals with some heavy stuff: sex, drugs, drinking, abuse, violence. I recommend reading it despite my issues with it. It really is a weird book, but I mean that in a good way. It stands out and leaves an impression, at least it did for me. I finished it about a week before writing this review and I'm still not sure how I feel, and I'm still thinking about it.

Thanks to Netgalley & Last Syllable Books for my copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.


  1. I'm so torn about this, I've wanted to read this for a while and I love the description of Joey's parts being in broken verse.... I think I'd probably borrow a copy before I bought one myself though.