Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno // Magical Summer Days and the Bond of Sisterhood

A magic passed down through generations. An island where strange things happen. A summer that will become legend.

Georgina Fernweh waits impatiently for the tingle of magic in her fingers—magic that has touched every woman in her family. But with her eighteenth birthday looming, Georgina fears her gift will never come.

Over the course of her last summer on the island—a summer of storms, falling in love, and the mystery behind one rare three-hundred-year-old bird—Georgina will learn the truth about magic, in all its many forms.

“On the island of By-the-Sea you could always smell two things: salt and magic.”

On a quaint little island called By-the-Sea, magic and mystery stir in salty sea air. It's the last summer that sisters Georgina and Mary Fernweh will spend on their island home before going off to college. It's also the last summer Georgina has before her magical powers must manifest or she will have none to speak of just like her namesake. Her sister Mary on the other hand, has had her power to float since she was born. With a magnetic personality, Mary is always ready for a good time. While Georgina is always cleaning up her sister's messes and making sure no one finds out about her powers. Although there are rumors that the Fernweh's magical powers, it isn't acknowledged. 

This summer brings lots of changes including new additions to the affectionally named Birdhead's that arrive every summer to take photos of Anabella. Anabella, as you may have guessed, is a bird. A seemingly magical one at that who has ties to the Fernweh family. The new Birdhead's bring with them some possible romance for the two girls. But, when Annabella takes too long to arrive, the island goes to a frenzy to find her and a magical mystery begins.

Almost lyrically told, Leno's writing reminded me of the ocean air and slow summer days. The magical Fernweh's, the small town island, new romance, and mystery all combined to make such a beautifully told story. The inn where this is all set felt magical all on it's own. I love that Georgina and Mary's mother could make potions. It's such a trademark witchy thing and it brought in the perfect atmosphere. In any other case I wouldn't like Mary, the "wild" sister. She could be very demanding and flighty but seeing her through Georgina's lens I felt that sisterly bond. Georgina herself was known as the more responsible sister who happened to like girls. This was written in a way that felt reflective and that fits Georgina's personality.

I absolutely loved Summer of Salt although there were a couple of things that are worth noting that weren't flawless. There is a predictable element to the story that I didn't mind too much because I was anticipating the reveal but others might not feel the same. The romantic interest didn't feel fully developed however not having the romance as a main plot point is also preferable. And I would have liked a little more moments with Vira, Georgina's best friend to cement them early on in the story as true best friends. I'd also check out any content warnings beforehand for any sensitive readers before reading. Other than that I highly recommend Summer of Salt especially if you are looking for a lazy or even more appropriate, rainy summer read. This is magical realism at its best!


  1. I remember thinking the writing was really beautiful when I read this. The romance was adorable, the female friendship was fantastic, and I loved the magical elements too.

    1. I just wish I would have read it sooner. I've had it on my tbr list for a while now.


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