Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno | Review

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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: June 5th, 2018

Dates Read: February 15th – February 16th, 2019

Trigger Warnings: off page rape and sexual assault, underage drinking, anxiety depictions, drug use, animal death, mentions of dead parent

Pages: 272

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: young adult, magic realism, romance, LGBT+

Goodreads blurb:

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.



I went into Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno expecting nothing. My best friend Taryn had raved about it and I just knew I had to pick it up. At the time of writing this review I still need to return the copy I borrowed as well – sorry Taryn! Before I even start this review, let me just shout how much I recommend this. I have never felt so much (that’s a lie, f/f books always have me feeling some kind of way). I really did need a hug when I turned the final page of Summer of Salt and thank God my dog was able to provide it.

The only thing I knew was that it was f/f and featured magic realism. It took me a while to pick this up because I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. I guess knowing nothing was a negative factor in that part, but I think it added to my overall enjoyment of the book. I had no idea what to expect and I was left shocked by each page I turned.

The story of the Fernweh women on a small coastal island of By-the-Sea is one of tragedy but also one of beauty. Each woman develops a power by their eighteenth birthday. A gift which is basically magic. Georgina is waiting anxiously for hers but as her eighteenth birthday approaches, she begins to lose faith, especially since her twin sister Mary came out of the womb with her gift intact. However, she won’t let take away from the fact that she and Mary have just graduated from their small high school and are about to head off to college. Oh, and that Annabella is due to arrive any day (she’s a bird lmao) which means that the tourist season is about to kick off for the Fernweh’s – who own the own hotel on By-the-Sea.

The whole book is full of a variety of characters. They are so well fleshed out by Katrina Leno that it almost felt as though I knew them. The excitement of the story, and Georgina’s love story with one of the Bird Head (what the tourists who come for Annabella are so fondly nicknamed). Each character is brought to life and it is beyond talent, truly, how she crafts this story in a way that leaves you yearning for more.

Summer of Salt is not purely a love story. It is also a story of sisterhood. Mary and Georgina are as close and it develops into a beautiful love story in itself. The love between sisters may be the purest form of love to ever exist. However, during the summer before the sisters leave for college Mary begins to act weird after an event that shakes the island. Georgina is worried but her sister doesn’t want to talk about it. Her vibrant sister suddenly becomes recluse and hard conversations about rape culture, slut shaming and that cursed nice guy comes into play. It was truly heartbreaking to read the transformation throughout the book and I went through about half a box of tissues trying to cope with the story.

In conclusion, I really don’t want to say too much about Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno. I think this was a perfectly handled book. The themes, messages and discussions throughout the story are a reflection of our society and I truly love when that occurs throughout fiction. Not only that, but Katrina Leno has a fantastic and beautiful writing style that will enchant you and leave you unable to put this book down.

The best way I could possibly describe Summer of Salt is whimsical. It is like you are transported to the island. As if you can smell the salt in the air and hear the waves crashing. You feel the excitement of Georgina as she thinks of college and her love for her family and island. It is truly as though Summer of Salt is the embodiment of summer in a way.


Happy reading everyone!

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5 thoughts on “Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno | Review

  1. Ooh, I’d bought this on Amazon Kindle a couple months ago but haven’t gotten to read it yet. Might have to change that!


  2. I loved Summer of Salt! I borrowed it from the public library and instantly regretted it because I wish I could own it for myself (I am currently saving all my hard earned money for it). I can’t wait to be immersed in the world of By-the-Sea again.


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