Title: Summer of Salt
Author: Katrina Leno
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
The first book I read by Katrina Leno was The Half Life of Molly Pierce, and I really enjoyed it, so when I found out that she was writing a brand-new book, I was excited. When I saw it sitting on the new book display at my local library, I snatched it, drawn by the story’s description and cover. Told with Leno’s signature, whimsical prose, wit, and wonder, Summer of Salt is one of my favorite books of 2018. Playful, dark, magical, and mysterious, it swept me away like the ocean waves that surround the tiny island of By-the-Sea, until the shocking, bittersweet ending. I can’t wait until her next book!
Twins Mary and Georgina Fernweh have lived their whole lives on the tiny, secluded island of By-the-Sea. Mysterious magic has run down their bloodline for generations, and Georgina has impatiently waited for her eighteenth birthday, eager to discover her own magical gift, despite the nagging fear that it may never come. Mary has the ability to defy gravity, literally: She can float off of the ground. No one on the island would dare call the Fernweh women what they are, but if you’re in need for a spot of help, they’re usually the ones to ask. No one questions the unusual weather, an insistent storm that is brewing in the skies above the island. No one questions, either, the allegedly three-hundred-year old bird who comes to roost on the island every summer. When tragedy strikes suddenly, though, the Fernwehs’ special talents cast a shadow of suspicion upon them. Over the course of the summer, Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in its many forms.
This book was a really enjoyable, unexpected surprise! When I first started it, I was expecting a light, playful romp with lots of magical realism elements mixed in. And the first half of it was. But the second half was a compelling, dark mystery that had me constantly guessing, full of magic of every kind. Honestly, this was the perfect book to read for the end of the summer: it was bittersweet, beautifully written, magical, funny, and thought-provoking. I really liked all of the characters, including Prue, Harrison, Mary, Aggie, and Penelope, but Georgie was my favorite; watching her develop from a shy, uncertain girl to a self-actualized, strong woman who refused to take no for an answer was a real treat. I also really liked the Fernweh family and the way their family was magical, but just so. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, what a curveball! Absolutely amazing! There were some times when I was frustrated with Mary and several of By-the-Sea’s residents, but overall, this book was really fantastic! One of the best books of 2018! The bottom line: A fantastically magical, whimsical book that was perfect for summer, I loved Summer of Salt! An absolutely gorgeous feat combining magical realism and a gritty mystery! Next on deck: Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi!