Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno was the beautifully magical time I always expect from this author! And excuse me while I sit here all starry-eyed, but this was EXACTLY as beautiful and magical as I hoped. In the past I’ve been fully in love with her books, Everything All At Once, The Lost & Found, and The Half Life of Molly Pierce.
The story is about Georgina Fernweh who’s on the cusp of leaving her home island to start college…and this will be the first time she’s ever left. Not to mention she’s from a family where magic is real and is passed down through the generations. (There may be tales of grandmas who’ve turned into birds, aunts who control fire, and potion makers and ones that fly.) Her own twin sister, Mary, floats, and her mother does magical things on full moons that can make anything happen. Unfortunately Georgie is 100% unmagical and her last summer on the island, By-the-Sea, is turning into a bittersweet farewell because: she has met Prue, the cutest girl, but also a tragedy has struck the island and everything threatens to collapse unless Georgie can figure it out.
On the island of By-the-sea you could always smell two things: salt and magic.
This one is slightly more magicy than the others Leno has written, 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 loved the world. And it was all The Scorpio Races vibes mixed with every Anna-Marie McLemore and I just couldn’t put it down. Whimsical but also with a really hard-hitting underlying story to make your face kind of water.
I loved the twins, Georgie (our narrator) and Mary, who are polar opposites but deeply supportive of each other. Their bond goes through the wringer, but it’s the kind of sibling story that is equal parts relatable and fantastic to read.
And Georgie and Prue were the cutest thing. Prue is visiting the island with her birdwatching brother and Georgie (obviously) lives there and her family runs the inn. But Georgie pretends to be chill at first but ohhh the crush is just THE CUTEST. It was so soft and sweet and I just loved them and how their friendship and feelings developed. Ah! I also loved how there were solid female friendships in the background and the hint of all things mystical and maybe even sinister lurking in the shadows.
And it does have a pretty darker undertone at the end. Which I thought was addressed and handled so well.
Basically Summer of Salt will NOT disappoint! 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.
Look out for Summer of Salt coming June 5th, 2018! Preorder now!