Summer of Salt

Summer of Salt

A magic passed down through generations . . . Georgina Fernweh waits with growing impatience for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has been passed down through every woman in her family. Her twin sister, Mary, already shows an ability to defy gravity. But with their eighteenth birthday looming at the end of this summer, Georgina fears her gift will never come.A...

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Title:Summer of Salt
Author:Katrina Leno
Rating:

Summer of Salt Reviews

  • Korrina  (OwlCrate)

    This was just such a ‘me’ book. It was exactly what I wanted to read, and I absolutely loved it.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Re-read 1/29/19: Finished my re-read of this on the plane home from ALA this morning and idk what it is about reading on planes but it makes everything feel EVEN MORE EMOTIONAL? This book is fantastic and I still love it so damn much. SO MUCH.

    Original read 8/6/18: I cannot even begin to tell you guys how much I loved this book. I went into it thinking it was going to be a fun, queer contemporary romance with some whimsical elements, and while it did feature all of those things, it was SO MUCH MO

    Re-read 1/29/19: Finished my re-read of this on the plane home from ALA this morning and idk what it is about reading on planes but it makes everything feel EVEN MORE EMOTIONAL? This book is fantastic and I still love it so damn much. SO MUCH.

    Original read 8/6/18: I cannot even begin to tell you guys how much I loved this book. I went into it thinking it was going to be a fun, queer contemporary romance with some whimsical elements, and while it did feature all of those things, it was SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. This is my new favorite book of the year. It’s a mix of the Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and the Wicked Deep and just everything I’ve ever wanted in a whimsical book. I loved this SO MUCH.

    (Tw: rape)

  • Melanie

    (My amazing friend

    , at

    , gave this to me as a birthday gift!) 💖

    This was nothing short of a beautiful delight to read. This was moving, and powerful, and magical, and sweet, yet also heartbreaking. This reads like a mix

    (My amazing friend

    , at

    , gave this to me as a birthday gift!) 💖

    This was nothing short of a beautiful delight to read. This was moving, and powerful, and magical, and sweet, yet also heartbreaking. This reads like a mix between

    and

    , and if you love either (bonus points for both) then you will completely love this story, too!

    This book is set on a very small island, where Georgina and Mary’s graduating class only consisted of 30ish kids. This summer is not only Georgina and Mary’s eighteenth birthday, but it is also the last summer before they leave the island for the first time to go away to college. Their mother runs the inn that has been in their family for many generations. Yet, no one really stays until the summer solstice, when a magical bird comes to the island and attracts so many tourists.

    - Our main character, a lesbian, and a witch who has not discovered her power(s).

    - Georgina’s twin sister, who has already discovered that her power allows her to float in midair.

    - Georgina’s best friend, who works at the local ice cream parlor, who is aroace, and my freakin’ favorite.

    - Visiting the island, bisexual, and has feelings for Georgina.

    - Prue’s brother, who has come to the island to see a bird that appears every summer.

    - The magical, one of a kind, bird, who also might be somehow related to Georgina and Mary.

    The entire island, and all of these character’s lives change when Annabella doesn’t make her annual arrival to the island. Georgina makes it her mission to not only find out what happened to Annabella, but also what happened to her sister, Mary, because she is acting really depressed and secretive. Georgina also is trying to figure out if she will never manifest any magical abilities like most of the women in her family, and she is also realizing that maybe she has real feelings for someone visiting the island this summer.

    Yet, this book also has a darker message about rape and rape culture and the topic is laced throughout the entire story, so please use caution. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship with the person. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex before. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. It doesn’t matter what you’ve said before. It doesn’t matter any circumstances; if it’s not consensual then it is rape. Rape culture is so real, so apparent, and so very much thriving in 2018. And for anyone who needs it, especially right now: I believe you.

    This is also a story about sisterhood, and unconditional love, and it discusses the sacrifices that we are willing to make to help the ones we love. This is a book about sexuality and those moments when you feel so validated and you feel like you are finally the person you’ve always wanted to be. This is a book about community, and found family, and respecting your family heritage, culture, and customs.

    Overall, I just loved this. I think it’s the perfect blend of light and dark. It feels so whimsical since witchcraft is delicately folded in to this story, but it feels so hard-hitting and realistic, too. The messages, discussions, and themes are important and life changing. The characters feel completely fleshed out and I couldn’t help but fall in love with all of them. Plus, the f/f romance in this was magnificent and gave me all the feels. And this story is written so very lyrically, that I never wanted it to end, because I wanted to stay on this island with these characters forever. I truly loved this, and I think it’s one of the best 2018 publications. I recommend it with my entire heart and soul.

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    for off page rape and sexual assault, mention of drugging people without them knowing (not in a date rape way, but it still felt bad to read), underage drinking, drug use, anxiety depictions, and an animal death.

    Buddy read with

    at

    ! ❤

  • chandler ainsley ♕

    i'm going to be frank with you, going into this i expected magical realism and rape. that's the two things i had heard about this book. so i kept putting off reading it.

    and yes, this book does have both of those things but it has a lot more. the first thing i noticed when reading was the way i immediately felt like i was in By The Sea. katrina leno doesn't rely on overly purple prose but even in the dead of winter i felt like i was in this small mag

    i'm going to be frank with you, going into this i expected magical realism and rape. that's the two things i had heard about this book. so i kept putting off reading it.

    and yes, this book does have both of those things but it has a lot more. the first thing i noticed when reading was the way i immediately felt like i was in By The Sea. katrina leno doesn't rely on overly purple prose but even in the dead of winter i felt like i was in this small magical beach town.

    and the characters and their interactions also had a dreamy but realistic quality. georgina and mary's interactions in particular felt very true to my sister relationship. she might be a bitch, but you'd still die for her. mary was so accepting of georgina's sexuality and in return georgina supported her sister sleeping around. no slut shaming here.

    that level of acceptance was true of pretty much all the relationships between characters in the book. the friendships were true and amazing. the romantic relationships were as well.

    and even though there was rape and it definitely made you feel sad it didn't have quite the same tone as with other books. there wasn't a graphic retelling of the events. and the character who was assaulted got justice instead of harassment. and while there was rape and there was a message there it didn't feel like this book was solely focused on rape culture. which i personally appreciated, since most of the books i've read that speak about rape culture topically don't do the best of jobs.

    anyway this was dreamy and lovely and unlike anything i've read before. give it a gooooo

  • C.G. Drews

    😍And actually excuse me while I sit here all starry-eyed, but this was EXACTLY as beautiful and magical as I hoped. (Although I think my favourite Leno book is always going to be

    because BOOKS. And ANXIETY. Basically the most relatable thing ever.)

    with a family living on an island who actually do downright witchy things like float and turn into birds

    😍And actually excuse me while I sit here all starry-eyed, but this was EXACTLY as beautiful and magical as I hoped. (Although I think my favourite Leno book is always going to be

    because BOOKS. And ANXIETY. Basically the most relatable thing ever.)

    with a family living on an island who actually do downright witchy things like float and turn into birds and make potions. But all in such a chill way that you kind of can look at it without looking at it. Or that's what the other islanders do. I absolutely loooved the world. And it was all

    vibes mixed with every

    and I just !!!

    • an island that's mostly quiet until birdwatching season

    • a 300 year old bird that everyone loves

    • twin sisters who are nothing alike

    • Mary can float

    • Georgie (narrator) is unmagical

    • Like so many solidly fantastic female friendships

    • the absolute CUTEST EVER QUEER GIRLS ROMANCE

    • quite a lot of cake

    • whimsical but also cutely quirky writing

    • some DEEP BAD THINGS

    • a lot of coffee

    • FEATHERS

    Prue is visiting the island with her birdwatching brother and Georgie (obviously) lives there and her family runs the inn. But George is basically like:

    It was so soft™ and sweet™ and I just loved them and how their friendship and feelings developed. Ah!

    Lmao hear me out, I just actually don't love birds. (I was attacked by a kookaburra when I was a smol bean ok. I'm traumatised. It stole my lunch and swiped my face.) And then when everyone is literally SO FREAKING INVESTED in this bird (and later

    ) I was just sitting here with a fake smile going: right then.

    I just didn't really care??

    Which I thought was addressed and handled so well. But omg.

    I was totally swept up in the magic of this, and the aesthetic of the quaint and weird island, and people shedding feathers and eating cake and mysteries threatening to tear their world apart. SO GOOD.

  • joanna ☽ the little brown fairy

    Summer of Salt is the

    . It focuses on a story passed down through generations, on birds-that-might-not-be-birds, on the magic and darkness that lurks just beneath the island's peaceful waves. With inspir

    Summer of Salt is the

    . It focuses on a story passed down through generations, on birds-that-might-not-be-birds, on the magic and darkness that lurks just beneath the island's peaceful waves. With inspiration from one of Edgar Allen Poe's gorgeous poems, this book casts a spell over you that lasts even after the final page, and while not without its flaws, it was a really enjoyable read.

    I wasn't sure what to expect when diving into this novel. The magical-family premise made it sound like the synopsis for

    ; in the first chapter, I was reminded distinctly of Shea Ernshaw's

    by the witchy seaside setting and the vivid descriptions. However, as I delved in deeper, I saw that this book is clearly

    — ▸ It's

    - Georgina and Prue. It was so wonderful to see the LGBT community represented like this, where the narrator completely accepts her sexuality and isn't judged harshly by others for it. Of course books where LGBT people struggle and fight for their rights are important, because these problems are a very real issue in society - but

    . Leno does a great job of

    , which is something that I feel needs to be done more in the YA genre.

    — ▸ One of this novel's really strong points was the

    . I loved the way that Leno wrote; when I read this, it was like reading a fairy tale, and if I closed my eyes, I could almost picture myself there, on a strange little island that always smelled like salt. The prose is absolutely gorgeous, and really adds to strengthen the story.

    — ▸ I really loved

    . In particular, I was fascinated by Mary. She was such an interesting character to read about - full of beauty and magic and happiness, bold and bright and daring - but also insecure, secretive, broken. She had so much more depth to her than Prue; she was just vivid in a way that stays in your mind.

    — ▸ I loved

    as well as the

    Georgina has with Vira, an aro/ace girl with a unique clothing style who makes the best witty remarks. The dialogue in this book was hilarious at times.

    — ▸ The topic of

    towards the end of this book, and I feel like the author handled it so well. There was plenty of shade towards people in our society who tend to "victim-blame", and pointed remarks about how society should really treat people who've been abused like this.

    — ▸ Despite a slow start,

    and soon the story escalates into darkness, mystery, fear and action, culminating in an ending that felt just right whilst suitably

    .

    — ▸

    This wasn't

    annoying, but I personally like a lot more guessing.

    — ▸

    . The potential was there, but I don't feel that Prue (the love interest) was ever really, truly characterised.

    . Given enough development, these two could easily have become one of my favourite YA couples of all time, but unfortunately the romance was a little too contrived and lacking in depth. This was a problem with a lot of the side characters, too: I just didn't

    them.

    — ▸

    , focusing mainly on building up the setting and Georgina telling us what was supposed to happen. This made the story drag a little, but not in a way that made me inclined to stop reading, especially because this is where most of the romance happened.

    ,

  • may ➹

    fitting that my first read of 20biteen features the softest, purest romance between two girls!

  • Julie Zantopoulos

    I'm so so thankful to my bookish friends who told me I had to read this book, you weren't wrong. This was a beautiful book with sexual fluidity and representation in it is often lacking in magical realism/witchy reads.

    Chelsea from Chelseadolling reads described it as a mash-up of The Wicked Deep and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender which are two of my favorite books. It was 100% just that, only wi

    I'm so so thankful to my bookish friends who told me I had to read this book, you weren't wrong. This was a beautiful book with sexual fluidity and representation in it is often lacking in magical realism/witchy reads.

    Chelsea from Chelseadolling reads described it as a mash-up of The Wicked Deep and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender which are two of my favorite books. It was 100% just that, only with the diversity those books lacked. We have an aromantic character, bisexual (or pan) characters, lesbian characters, and all of that is on the page cannon.

    This is a story of women, sisters, and the bonds of friendship. It is a study in females and their power to overcome unspeakable evils and hardships. Georgina and Mary are twins and the most recent in a long line of witches on their island town. Mary has come into her powers and Georgia has only a few months to find hers or she'll never find magic.

    I will say that I think it lacked some of the atmosphere and lyrical writing that I wish it could have had, but it was still stunning. It was beautiful as its own work, it was harrowing in its cautions, and uplifting in its lasting message. I am really happy that I picked this book up as soon as possible after the buzz began. I really did love it.

    Trigger warnings for the death of an animal, rape, sexual assault, slut shaming, violence, attempted murder, and drug and alcohol use.

  • شيماء ✨

    My heart has the deep overwhelming desire to be held close in a dimly lit room, covered in blankets while rain is softly falling outside. I picked up

    for an enchanting blend of the whimsy and the queer—in both senses of the word—and left with

    , and for that sole reason, it was perfection.

    Stories grow in the small town of By-the-Sea as they do anywhere, fed on whispers and rumors and half-truths. Twin sisters Georgina and Mary Fernweh are

    My heart has the deep overwhelming desire to be held close in a dimly lit room, covered in blankets while rain is softly falling outside. I picked up

    for an enchanting blend of the whimsy and the queer—in both senses of the word—and left with

    , and for that sole reason, it was perfection.

    Stories grow in the small town of By-the-Sea as they do anywhere, fed on whispers and rumors and half-truths. Twin sisters Georgina and Mary Fernweh are folded into those stories as they come from an ancestry line who is reputed to possess inexplicable abilities that range from telepathy to teleportation—a fact that has made the sisters inured to oddities of strange occurrences, like the annual appearances of the 300-year-old bird Annabella who’s rumored to be a Fernweh foremother. This only enhanced the otherworldliness of the small town in the eyes of every bird enthusiast and tourist who flocks every summer to By-the-Sea to see her, amongst whom are Prue and her brother, Harrison.

    Georgina spends her last days of summer worrying whether her talents were ever going to be made manifest like her sister’s and bonding with the sensitive and attentive Prue as the first tendrils of a sapphic romance begin to bloom. However, a new jarring reality rattles the town:

    And when everyone finds, to shared horror, her corpse in a barn, the town’s accusatory gaze immediately shifts to one Fernweh twin:

    . Georgina is convinced that there was simply no scenario in which her sister hurt Annabella, but Mary is acting strange and in place of that faith has now grown a suspicion that Mary is hiding some secret Georgina wouldn’t know until she found it burning into her skin.

    Amid the eeriness of the small-town backdrop, Leno winds arabesques of magical realism, and built on the bones of that magic is a powerful story about the secrets we keep and the lies we tell, and the unimaginable courage it takes to reveal our truths to each other and to the world.

    Toward the end, the reading experience radically shifts gears, and trust me when I tell you that this book has a vicious way of punching you in the gut, especially if you're not looking.

    This is a collection of dexterous, poignant, beautifully optimistic moments that left me breathless and as though there were embers stirring inside my heart. This is a story that delves deep into the murky waters of

    and issues forth a boiling darkness—only to fracture it into a hundred fluttering smithereens of lights, which we call “hope”. It’s a rather apt tale for our times.

    This is a story of sisterly devotion that lends its voice for yours, which had been silenced. It’s a reminder that you are not a broken thing, you are whole as you are, and you should never forget how you’ve done and are doing the bravest thing of all: you’ve survived, and you’ve kept forging a way onward, though there were easiest paths to take. And not only had Leno made this amalgamation of emotions so tangible, she had done it in less than a 100 pages.

    Though I think some characters could do with a little more depth (*side eyes Prue and Harrison*) and I wished for more interactions between Prue and Georgina, still, 

    is a novel as loving as it is fierce, warm and accomplished. It’s a comforting and hopeful story with a deep heart and a pair of brass knuckles in its pocket for when things get rough. It’s a reminder that all we can do when faced with what seems to be inescapable doom, is to hold onto the ones we love, and fight against the despair, fight for the right thing.

    As the town of By-the-Sea has never questioned the existence of a 300-year-old bird,

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  • Kayla Dawn

    3,5* - Awesome atmosphere, quite a unique premise and a VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE.

    (Even though the sentence "Men are always killing things" is definitely too much for me. Please stop hating on man for the sake of feminism, that's not really what it's about)

    BUT it was way too short! Especially the last quarter felt very rushed and a little overdone. Everything happened so fast and that just made it feel less real and overdramatic.

    The characters could've used a little more depth as well, they were

    3,5* - Awesome atmosphere, quite a unique premise and a VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE.

    (Even though the sentence "Men are always killing things" is definitely too much for me. Please stop hating on man for the sake of feminism, that's not really what it's about)

    BUT it was way too short! Especially the last quarter felt very rushed and a little overdone. Everything happened so fast and that just made it feel less real and overdramatic.

    The characters could've used a little more depth as well, they were well written but there just wasn't enough.

    Still definitely a book worth reading.

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