Monday 23 August 2021

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Quick Fire Review: Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Published: 9th June 2020 | Publisher: HarperTeen | Source: Bought
Katrina Leno's Website

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.

An island where strange things happen...

No one on the island of By-the-Sea would ever call the Fernwehs what they really are, but if you need the odd bit of help—say, a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight—they are the ones to ask.

No one questions the weather, as moody and erratic as a summer storm.

No one questions the (allegedly) three-hundred-year-old bird who comes to roost on the island every year.

A summer that will become legend...

When tragedy strikes, what made the Fernweh women special suddenly casts them in suspicion. Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, of love, of salt—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.
From Goodreads.

  • Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno is a book I've wanted to read for a really long time, so when it was chosen for my book club's June/July read, I was so happy to finally get to it! Unfortunately, I did have some issues with it.
  • I absolutely love Leno's writing style. There's an ease to it which is just so enjoyable, you're kind of lulled and swept along on it's tide. It's a writing style I can trust in; no matter what I'll end up thinking of the particular story and plot, if it's written by Leno, I will have a really enjoyable reading experience.
  • Summer of Salt is an extremely quirky novel. The plot mainly evolves around Annabella, the only bird of it's kind in existence, believed to have been around for 300 years, that comes to the island of By-the-Sea every summer. The Fernweh's are a family of magical women, who have their own special abilities, and they believe Annabella is one of their ancestors who turned into a bird - hence the bird being named Annabella. Because she's so unique, large numbers of bird watchers flock to the island of By-the-Sea every summer. But this year, Annabel's late. And then her broken body is found. Who killed Annabella, and why? And what is going on with Georgie's sister, Mary, who is suddenly acting strange? It's magical realism, and kind of strange, but I was loving it until the reveal.
  • The reveal is something I absolutely feel the need to talk about, because I think it's kind of problematic. So click the button for spoilers, but people may want to read trigger warnings before reading this book.
  • I loved the queer representation in this book! Georgie is a lesbian; Prue, her love interest is attracted to multiple genders; and Georgie's best friend Vira is ace/aro.
  • While I was a little disappointed with the romance - it's a very slow burn, and has very little page-time - I loved how it was handled. By-the-Sea is such a small town, everyone knows Georgie is a lesbian - and that other characters are queer - and it's not a thing. Georgie has never had to question how someone might react to her being a lesbian - and if another girl might be attracted to girls, too - before. Is Prue flirting with her, or is she just friendly? Am I being too flirty? What is she thinking? I loved it.
  • I did think Summer of Salt was going to be more witchy than it was. The description had me thinking, as well as having special abilities, the Fernweh women were also witches in general. Potions and spells, herbs and moonlight rituals, etc. But basically, Georgie and Mary's mum's special ability is creating potions. And while they do come up a few times, it's not really anything major. So I was disappointed with how witchy it wasn't.
  • But I really enjoyed all the background aspects to this story, overall. Just the point. The reveal. I personally really wasn't ok with that.
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