A story of survival, sisters, and secrets.
The Fehler sisters wanted to be more than bug girls, but growing up in a fourth-generation family pest control business in rural Missouri, their path was fixed. The family talked about Fehler Family Exterminating at every meal, even when their mom said to separate the business from the family, an impossible task. They tried to escape work with trips to their trailer camp on the Mississippi River, but the sisters did more fighting than fishing. If only there were a son to lead rural Missouri insect control and guide the way through a crumbling patriarchy.
After Robbie Fehler’s sudden death, the surprising details of succession in his will are revealed. He’s left the company to a distant cousin, assuming the women of the family aren’t capable. As the mother’s long-term affair surfaces and her apocalypse prepper training intensifies, she wants to trade responsibility for romance.
Facing an economic recession amidst the backdrop of growing Midwestern fear and resentment, the Fehler sisters unite in their struggle to save the company’s finances and the family’s future. To survive, they must overcome a political chasm that threatens a new civil war as the values that once united them now divide the very foundation they’ve built. Through alternating point-of-views, grief and regret gracefully give way to the enduring strength of the hive.
PRAISE FOR THE HIVE & MELISSA SCHOLES YOUNG
"I love books about sisters, and I love The Hive, which has all the eccentricity and yearning of some of my favorite sister stories, like We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and Sisters By a River by Barbara Comyns. From the very first chapter, The Hive is a deft, delightfully weird, and often comical family saga."
―Timothy Schaffert, author of The Perfume Thief
"The Hive by Melissa Scholes Young is real and raw, and will pin you back in your seat. It’s a powerful portrait of a family coming to terms with a changing world that some are ready for, and others are not. The Fahler family is beautifully rendered in their messy complexity―flawed, tragic, and hopeful, all at once. I loved it."
―Alex George, author of The Paris Hours
"You’ll buzz through The Hive, Melissa Scholes Young’s vibrant second novel about a close family and their closely held secrets. In a small conservative town, where Mark Twain scholars abide with Rush Limbaugh followers, four daughters and their mother try to save the family’s exterminating business. Each yearns to be true to herself and the hive, as loyalty wrestles with self-discovery. A loving portrait of a family that closes ranks even as it opens its heart."
―Mary Kay Zuravleff, author of Man Alive!
“I love when an author takes me some place I’ve never been. Much like an epic Jane Smiley novel, Melissa Scholes Young transports us to rural America, inside a family owned pest control business and four sisters’ struggle to keep it afloat in a changing political landscape. The Hive is a moving and completely immersive reading experience.”
―Marcy Dermansky, author of Very Nice
"In The Hive,the kind of authentic and deeply felt novel that could only be crafted from personal experience, the Fehler sisters grapple with grief, regret, and their mother's secrets as they reel from the sudden death of their father…Melissa Scholes Young gracefully and compassionately captures the moving story of four young women seeking out their own independence while drawn, inexorably, back, and back again, into the family business.“
― Dean Bakopoulos, author of Summerlong
Melissa Scholes Young was born and raised in Hannibal, Missouri. She is the author of the novels Flood and The Hive. She’s a Contributing Editor for Fiction Writers Review and Editor of two volumes of D.C. Women Writers: Grace in Darkness (2018) and Furious Gravity (2020). Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, Washington Post, Ploughshares, Narrative, Poet Lore, and Poets & Writers Magazine. Scholes Young was named a Bread Loaf Camargo Fellow and a Quarry Farm Fellow at the Center for Mark Twain Studies. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at American University in Washington, D.C.