Monday, January 23, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Melt will leave you without words, deeply in touch with the characters and wanting to read more! A story of when opposites attract; Dorothy, a sixteen-year-old girl who just moved to Highland Park, meets seventeen-year-old Joey, who is considered a bad boy by his classmates, and they instantly fall in love. Sounds like a typical young romance of bad boy meets good girl; however, Joey has a truly dark, painful secret at home that constantly pulls him into risky behaviors and gives him a tarnished reputation. This mysteriousness intrigues Dorothy, whose kind and gentle personality enables her to see past his reputation and understand his beautiful heart and inner being, as she falls fatally attracted to him.

Selene Castrovilla’s choice to include the quote, “There’s no place like home…” on the cover, sets up readers to expect Dorothy and Joey will find home as a place of refuge, peace, and warmth; however, readers find out fast that home is just the opposite for them. Home is a place of judgement, abuse, and where they feel the least accepted and safe whether there alone or as a couple. The Wizard of Oz connections continue throughout the text with epigraphs before each section to add to Dorothy and Joey’s journey down the metaphorical yellow brick road of adolescence. While Castrovilla does not directly make the connections for the reader, a formalist critic would appreciate this backdrop and students will enjoy finding similarities between the events in both stories.

Castrovilla is a true literary artist whose ability to establish voice goes beyond word choice, character quirks, punctuation and repetition. Dual first person narration of Dorothy and Joey visually juxtapose the characters’ mental state and well-being. Dorothy’s words are orderly, smooth, well punctuated prose that symbolically represent her journey and upbringing from two psychologist parents. Joey’s voice comes in verse, scattered on the page and while his message comes in few words, one's ability to read and understand him can be more difficult; thus symbolic of his internal struggle as well as Dorothy's difficulty with making sense of what he says and thinks.

This novel is a page turner geared towards older teens and young adults due to language and sexuality. Readers will become deeply connected to the characters and the ending will leave you with questions and concerns about what could happen to them next. Will Joey and Dorothy's love and devotion survive? Read this rough romance to find out! Melt leaves you on the edge of your seat so if you enjoy it, be sure to also get your hands on the sequel: Signs of Life.

~Kate R.

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