The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo TLC Book Tour!
Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 8th, 2015 by Harper
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review and my participation in this TLC Book Tour.
I was immediately intrigued by this book because the synopsis included some things that get me going right away: family, small towns, mysteries, and family secrets. So basically, I was in from the get-go.
The story starts off with a bang:
Twenty-seven minutes is, if anyone ever asks, exactly how long it takes to cram everything I own into six giant trash bags.
Maddie Wallace is quite the character. She’s incredibly sassy, and has gotten herself into a pile of trouble. She’s pregnant, broke, and running away from her jerk of an ex. The first place she heads to is the home of Queeg, the man who was at one time her step-father. Here she does her best to avoid talking about her mother. Mattie has no interest in reminiscing about Genie the alcoholic. Something on this topic, however, sparks her interest.
There has been a lawyer trying to get in contact with her. Because she has not been answering the calls, Queeg is contacted. It turns out Mattie’s maternal Grandmother, Tilda, passed away. Mattie has never met her. However, because Genie is dead, any inheritance is passed on to Mattie. With the prospect of any sort of inheritance, Mattie jumps into her ’78 Malibu and makes the long drive to Gandy, Oklahoma—her mother’s hometown.
Here Mattie meets a quirky cast of characters as she tries to stay afloat long enough for her inheritance to come through (or at least long enough to get her car fixed). Along the way, Mattie learns more about her mother and the life that she lead before Mattie came along. It turns out that Genie is a local mystery to those in Gandy. She just disappeared one day and never came back. Mattie decides to find out why. What sent Genie the sweet college girl off the rails? How can Mattie stop herself from falling any further?
I really enjoyed joining Mattie on her journey to making peace with her mother’s memory and learning to let go and move on. Right from the beginning Mattie draws you into her story through her sass and chutzpah— it’s immediately endearing yet alienating (and frustrating), but you’ve just got to find out what happens to her. She isn’t exactly the underdog that everyone is rooting for, but she’s a bitter and forlorn underdog that will still hopefully get a second chance nonetheless.
I loved seeing Mattie in the setting of a close-knit small town. Here everyone knows everyone’s business and everyone seems to have a hey-there-how-do-you-do attitude. Mattie, on the other hand, is quite private and standoffish. That being said, she’ll never miss the opportunity to take advance of them and their kindness.
But Mattie meets her match in the moody teenager Tawny that’s working with her at the library. I love their interactions and the sheer load of sass that goes on when they’re together.
This book is a moving, hilarious, atmospheric, tale of family, friendship, secrets, and redemption. DeCarlo’s writing is funny, smooth, and engaging. If that sounds appealing to you (and it should!), I’d highly recommend The Art of Crash Landing.
Content warning: Contains explicit language.
About The Author
Melissa DeCarlo was born and raised in Oklahoma City, and has worked as an artist, graphic designer,grant writer, and even (back when computers were the size of refrigerators) a computer programmer. The Art of Crash Landing is her first novel. Melissa now lives in
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Beth is the founder and editor of Fuelled by Fiction. She is a twenty-something east coast Canadian girl who loves writing about books and feminism.