One of my 2018 reading resolutions is to read one of the books my favourite Booktubers loved the most last year. First one up is Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno, recommend by Chelsea from Chelseadolling reads . This is a delightful and meaningful read providing a fresh take on friendly witches, young love, sisterhood, and justice.
About The Book
Title: Summer of Salt
Author: Katrina Leno
Published June 2018 by Harperteen
Genre: YA Contemporary, Fantasy/Magical Realism, LGBT
Hardcover 256 pages
“Practical Magic meets Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls and Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap in this lush, atmospheric new novel by acclaimed author Katrina Leno.
A magic passed down through generations. An island where strange things happen. A summer that will become legend.
Georgina Fernweh waits impatiently for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has touched every woman in her family. But with her eighteenth birthday looming, Georgina fears her gift will never come.
Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, falling in love, and the mystery behind one rare three-hundred-year-old bird—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.
In Summer of Salt, Katrina Leno weaves another gorgeously original novel of magical realism and coming-of-age. Fans of April Genevieve Tucholke and Anna-Marie McLemore will be swept away.”
“On the island of By-the-Sea you could always smell two things: salt and magic.”
Georgina Fernweh and her twin sister, Mary, are almost eighteen-years-old. This is their last summer before they go off to different colleges.
“Oh, By-the-Sea, island of Fernwehs and everything I had ever known and loved. How I would miss you – every part of you – but especially the smell, always the smell: of salt, of brine, of water, of spells, of potions, of feathers, and of what it would mean to leave it all in just two months.”
By-the-Sea is a small town where everyone knows everyone, a place where you feel safe, but where some may feel isolated or trapped. The Fernweh women are secretly special, Mary can levitate, Georgie hasn’t discovered her magical ability and if it doesn’t reveal itself before she soon turns eighteen, then that means she isn’t magical. A three-hundred-year-old bird named Annabella (who might be related to the Fernweh sisters) comes to visit the island each summer, attracting many “birdheads” from around the world who come to stay at Fernweh Inn, run by Georgie’s mother.
Georgie is lesbian and has a crush on Prue, one of the new “birdheads” who’ve come to stay at the inn for the summer with her brother, Harrison. Prue (Prudence) is a bookworm, an open-book, and world traveler.
“When I was seventeen, I met a girl who’d traveled the world and had the kind of hair you wanted to just touch, just to see what it felt like, and who when she talked to you stared so intently into your face that you felt just the tiniest bit like you were going to catch on fire.”
Mary is a “free bird”, who likes to date many guys, knowing she’ll be leaving for college soon and isn’t interested in anything serious. Their friend Peter has an enormous crush on Mary, but she isn’t interested in dating him. Georgie’s best friend Vira works at her family’s ice cream shop. She likes to make new flavours like “Broken Hearts of Lovers”.
Annabella is very late this year, the latest she’s ever been. All of the “birdheads” are out searching for her day and night. Georgie wants to figure out what’s going on with Annabella, while also worrying about leaving By-the-Sea, discovering her magical ability, and anxiously wondering if Prue feels the same way about her.
I guessed what was going to happen very early in the story, but I did not care not one bit. I love everything about this book. The characters, plot, quality writing, message, and the ending are perfect for me. At first glance Summer of Salt is a lighthearted young adult novel with romance and magic, however, this is a heart-hitting story delivering a strong message about unconditional love, acceptance, and consent. I highly recommend this poignant novel to readers fourteen-years-old and up.
“Because there was nothing in a girl’s history that might negate her right to choose what happens to her body.”
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About The Author
Katrina Leno is the author of Everything All at Once, The Lost & Found, The Half Life of Molly Pierce, and Summer of Salt. In real life, she lives in Los Angeles. But in her head, she lives on an imaginary island off the coast of New England where it sometimes rains a lot.