MILK BLOOD HEAT by Dantiel Moniz

Full disclosure: normally I’m not a big fan of story collections. But once I read praise for MILK BLOOD HEAT from the likes of Lauren Groff combined with the fact that all the stories were set in my home state of Florida (many, in fact where I live in Jacksonville), I was sold.

And I’m so glad I was, because no matter where the setting of this book it is GORGEOUS.

In this debut from writer Dantiel Moniz, the reader is dropped into lives of characters in the story as they are in the middle of important moments. Each story feels a little like literally falling from the sky and being a fly on the wall as each character faces things like depression, tragedy, family dysfunction, religion, reckoning and more.

It’s so intimate that sometimes it feels like we almost shouldn’t be there, witnessing their pain, their discovery, their very personal moments. The stories are raw, real, uplifting, redeeming and fascinating. The writing is exquisite.

The stories range from a friendship between two 13-year-olds, one white and one black that takes a turn with unexpected tragedy; a woman reeling between reality/hallucination following a miscarriage; a young girl questions her family’s faith and maybe my favorite story – two estranged siblings take a road-trip with their father’s ashes and are forced to face past issues. The common link between the stories is Florida, which to me almost serves as a background character.

Maybe I’m biased but one of the best parts of the book for me were the very accurate portrayals of the Sunshine State, in all its beauty and quirkiness. Thank so much to #NetGalley for the privilege of reading a preview of this beautiful book.