Tuesday, September 29, 2015

TLC BLOG TOUR: The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

Title: The Art of Crash Landing
Author: Melissa DeCarlo
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Release Date: September 8/2015
Acquired: Print copy sent by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Broke and knocked up, Mattie Wallace has got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags and nowhere to go. Try as she might, she really is turning into her late mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn’t make.

When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she’s never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother’s birthplace—the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery—a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother. The deeper Mattie digs for answers, the more precarious her situation becomes. Giving up, however, isn’t an option. Uncovering what started her mother’s downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own.


Dialogue. I'll say it time and time again. Dialogue is EVERYTHING. There have been entire narratives that have received a shining review from me based on dialogue alone. The art of sounding realistic, of avoiding cliches, of spewing wit like you were BORN to do it, in my opinion, is a literary ability, or inability, that can make or break a novel. Melissa DeCarlo was BORN to dialogue. The Art of Crash Landing was a debut that set in stone the single FACT that I will purchase every single thing this author puts out into the world.

You know the storyline: young struggling adult inherits property from a family member they never met, in a town they've never been to, with an impeding onslaught of secrets from said town residents about aforementioned family member. This book had the setup of a book written a million times, by a million different people. But it wasn't. Dear God it WASN'T that book. The Art of Crash Landing was the scenic route of that book. It was a chance to enjoy the ride, with a voice that wasn't trying too hard, or insulting readers with a myriad of unbelievable characters or stilted subplots. DeCarlo wrote with such confidence, and allowed her characters to feel out their own resolutions. I couldn't predict Mattie's moves, I was never fully able to follow her trains of thought, and I didn't want to. I loved that we got to be as equally surprised by Mattie's decisions as she was.

It is such an easy hole to fall into, when you stick a character in the middle of a small town, for them to spend endless chapters searching for answers to questions they didn't even know they had. There seems to be a rule that states that they need to take an agonizingly long time finding said answers, and then spend even longer with the unraveling. The Art of Crash Landing was refreshing in the sense that the pieces fell into place quickly, but satisfyingly. Nothing was rushed, but enough time was spent on each situation for us to feel a genuine connection to all of the characters involved.

ALL of the points go to Melissa DeCarlo for her use of wit and snark in this novel, I couldn't get enough of it. Mattie could star in every novel I read from now on, and I would be perfectly fine with that. I didn't love the end resolution, but I'm going to make this such a small sentence about that, because I hate that I'm even writing it. So uh...let's pretend I didn't sneak that in there.

What a brilliant debut otherwise. I can't recommend it enough!

Recommended for Fans of: Adult fiction, Contemporary, Humour, any book by Joshilyn Jackson.


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 East Texas with her husband and a motley crew of rescue animals.

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Thank-you to Trish at TLCBlogTours, and Harper Paperbacks for sending me a print copy to read, and review! Click here to follow the rest of the tour.


  1. Wow, thanks SO much for the great review!! :) It made my day!

  2. Wit and snark are always fabulous but even more so when they're done so well!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. I totally agree about dialogue! A lot of books that are favorites of mine have great, witty dialogue.


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