BookPage Teen Top Pick, June 2018
As her 18th birthday approaches, Georgina is beginning to fear that she may be the first Fernweh woman in generations not to possess magical powers. But she tries to brush her nerves aside as she prepares for her last tourist season on her hometown island, By-the-Sea. Every summer on the island has been more or less like the one before, but then By-the-Sea’s iconic 300-year-old bird goes missing, a storm floods the island, and Georgina’s twin sister, Mary, begins leaving a trail of feathers in her wake. Georgina knows nothing will ever be the same.
Katrina Leno’s latest novel, Summer of Salt, is a haunting coming-of-age story tinged with magic and steeped in tradition in the vein of Shea Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep and Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.
The relationships between the novel’s strong female characters are particularly poignant: From Georgina’s blossoming romance with a girl named Prue and the bonds between the Fernweh women to the friendships that sustain them when the unthinkable happens, Summer of Salt is a profound and subtly feminist tribute to the power of female connection.
Leno’s whimsical prose is grounded by the dark events—both fantastical and all too real—that befall the island and its residents (young readers should be prepared to face issues of sexual assault), and the eclectic cast of well-developed characters is made familiar by the weight of the decisions they have to make as they learn the true meanings of love, sacrifice and magic.