I guess we can’t all love everything. 3/5 stars.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book in return for an honest review.
The blurb: Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere – a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he’s welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he’s a runaway from a nearby farm town.
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him.
As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be.
While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
“What?!” I hear you scream. “Only 3 stars?! What is wrong with her?!”
My 3-star rating is a reflection of my experience of this book. I’m not saying this is a bad book. Not at all. The writing is very good and at times excellent. I particularly liked all of Sal’s parable-like stories and the author also manages to describe a few fleeting moments of true beauty. There is a strong story here and it unrolls at a good pace, giving us just enough information to keep us moving forward with the characters. The book is also commendably ambitious in how it seeks to tackle a number of difficult issues including mob mentality, racism, child abuse and homophobia. The initial idea of a child arriving in response to an invitation for the devil to present himself is a great starting point for a story and an exploration of ideas of good and evil.