Flood: A Novel

Flood: A Novel

by Melissa Scholes Young


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Flood: A Novel by Melissa Scholes Young

Winner of the Literary Fiction Category for the 2017 Best Book Award

A sparkling debut set in Mark Twain's boyhood town, Flood is a story of what it means to be lost . . . and found.

Laura Brooks fled her hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, ten years ago after a historic flood and personal heartbreak. Now she's returned unannounced, and her family and friends don't know what to make of it. She says she's just home for a brief visit and her high-school reunion, but she's carrying too much luggage for that: literal and metaphorical. Soon Laura is embroiled in small-town affairs—the contentious divorce of her rowdy best friend Rose; the campaign of her twelve-year-old godson, Bobby, to become the town's official Tom Sawyer; and the renewed interest of the man Laura once thought she'd marry, Sammy McGuire.

Leaving town when she was eighteen had been Laura's only option. She feared a stifling existence in a town ruled by its past, its mythological devotion to Mark Twain, and the economic and racial divide that runs as deep as the Mississippi River. She can't forget that fateful Fourth of July when the levees broke or the decisions that still haunt her. Now as the Mississippi rises again, a deep wound threatens to reopen, and Laura must decide if running away once more might be the best way to save herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478970774
Publisher: Center Street
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 466,506
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.12(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Melissa Scholes Young is an award-winning author from Hannibal, Missouri, which she proudly claims as her hometown. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Washington Post, Narrative, Ploughshares, Poets & Writers, and other literary journals. She teaches at American University in Washington, D.C. FLOOD is her first novel.

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Flood: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absorbing Novel with Very Satisfying Ending This is a wonderful book with smart, yet honest and down-to-earth, prose. It’s populated with well-fleshed out characters who feel completely real. Hannibal, MO, the author’s hometown, and the Mississippi River, are also well-drawn characters who effect the outcome of this novel. Interlaced with the fictional narrative are fascinating facts about Mark Twain’s years and legacy in Hannibal, which complement the novel’s plot. This book explores the heartache of imperfect love and the push and pull of leaving one’s home. In terms of tone, humor, and memorable characters, Flood reminds me of a Midwestern cousin to The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. I was completely immersed in the conflict and deliciously conflicted at the end about how I wanted the story to turn out. The ending Young gives readers is even more satisfying than one I could have predicted. I could not stop thinking about this book once I finished it.
SashaMoscow77 More than 1 year ago
Where do we belong? This is one of the questions I found myself asking while reading this book. The main character Laura left her small hometown of Hannibal, MO ten years ago in search of something greater, than the town could offer. She returns to Hannibal, where she comes face to face with her past, and has to make decisions about her future. I could identify with the protagonist having also left my hometown, now a long time ago. The story stirred memories and feelings of my own departure. Is it possible to come back and not to feel as an outsider? How do you keep relationship with people we leave behind? It reminded me of "I am Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout. The book provides a great depiction of a small American town where people try to live their lives while battling the river, lack of jobs, and addiction. Every character made me feel a flood of emotions towards them - not one of them left me indifferent or bored. They are complex, emotional people. From the moment I opened this book I couldn’t put it down until I was done. I also really enjoyed how the author included historical information about Mark Twain, and his legacy in Hannibal, which intertwines delightfully with the plot. Go ahead and be swept away by this story…
AccidentalReviewer More than 1 year ago
Great read. This was one of those novels that you don't want to stop reading. Female Tom and Huck adventure story. It offers many lovely parallels of the Mississippi River, one's past, family, friendships and growing up.
PaperTrail More than 1 year ago
A story about best friends, tricky family relationships, old flames, and a past that has a way of catching up with you - all good ingredients for a story you want to curl up with! It's set in Hannibal, Mark Twain's home town, which was interesting to read about, but in many ways it could be set in lots of small towns across America. This book really tells the story of what it feels like to be from a place like that, whether you end up being one of the people who move away, or one of the people who stay. The author comes from Hannibal herself so it's clear she is writing from the heart.
Christina_Diane More than 1 year ago
I gave this book five stars because I didn’t want to put it down to sleep. What more do you really need in a book? I read late late late into the night to find out what happens not only to the main heroines Laura and her best friend Rose (who is an intoxicating blend of lovable and infuriating), but to the landscape of Hannibal, which Scholes-Young portrays as deftly as her human characters. She uses the town brouhaha over the Tom-and-Becky contest to throw light on social class, healthcare, drug, housing, and employment problems in the American south—but you are never aware that you’re “learning”. Instead, you’re wanting to find out if Rose’s son wins...and you don’t know until you close the last page that your world has been broadened. BONUS: A deft O. Henry-esque twist at the end! PS. I skimmed the historical italicized parts between the chapters. The formatting made this easy and the skimming didn’t detract from my experience with the story—so that is why I still have the book all five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A few of my notes from reading: 1. The author takes on the tremendous challenge of delving into issues of class and race that others stray away from because it's so hard to get right. But she's clearly invested significant time into her craft as the book addresses these issues in an intentional and conscientious way that brings the reader along for the journey. 2. Loved, loved, loved that the author found a way to incorporate the New Madrid Fault Line and its history of earthquakes into the book. I remember being fascinated by the stories about the 1811-12 earthquakes as a kid after reading about them in The Big One. Especially because I remember there was some period of time in the 2000s when there was a series of Midwest earthquakes — I think Illinois and there was at least one with an epicenter in Iowa. I remember wondering if they were a precursor to a "big one" that ultimately never came. 3. I couldn't help but crack up when I read the part about Laura and Mama watching Wheel of Fortune after dinner. I literally wrote to myself, "LOL, does every Midwest family grow up watching Wheel of Fortune?" I think my mom and I watched that almost every single night growing up while making dinner or eating. This book is well worth a read!