Friday YA: Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

Georgina Fernweh is approaching her seventeenth birthday when she will leave the island for the first time ever and live on the mainland and go to college. Going to college is usually a huge event in a persons life, but in Georgina’s case turning seventeen may be even bigger because she still hasn’t manifested her magic. First, she has to get through the summer as the island gets overrun with the Annabelle birdwatchers who arrive annually to catch a glimpse of a very rare bird. In their midst is a beautiful girl and her brother who help change the way Georgina see’s her future and herself.

I loved the mix of magical and reality. Georgina comes from a family of women who are gifted in different ways. Her twin sister’s gift is as mischievous and willful, matching the nature of the girl herself. Georgina, with her lack of magic, is the realist in the family and when tragedy strikes, she finds courage within herself to face the darkness and help her friends and family find the light. This novel dealt with a very difficult subject (rape) but did it in a way that matched the tone of the novel. There’s not much that’s magical about rape, but there can be magic in justice.

Katrina Leno has a magical way with storytelling. The flow of this novel, as with those I’ve read in the past, is very gentle, like the ebb and flow of the surf on the island Georgina lives on. When the conflict hits, that gentle flow is halted with a jerk and then the pace of the novel speeds up increasing your pulse right along with it. I forgot to read the synopsis before I started the book and so the magical bits were a pleasant surprise. Even more pleasant was the surprise that Georgina was secure in her sexuality as a young gay woman. This novel didn’t surprise us with her sexuality, it was built into her character, part of what made Georgina tick and wasn’t the conflict of the plot. It was a sidebar to her lack of magic being the main plot focus making her character feel totally natural. I liked that and I liked her.

If you like good books with a touch of magical realism, I think you should give Summer of Salt a try. You’ll be surprised by the richness of the characters and charmed by the writing. I believe you’ll even track down another of Katrina Leno’s books because you’ll want to see if she can be this good a second time. I’d recommend Everything All At Once! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Summer of Salt

Click this link to purchase!* Summer of Salt

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

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This Chick Read: Everything All At Once by Katrina Leno

The prologue for Everything All At Once immediately showed me that there were going to be some surprises in this story, because in what should’ve been a very sad scene I laughed out loud at this family’s heartbreaking homage. Lottie Reaver’s favorite Aunt Helen has died and  left her 24 letters to be opened after she has completed each task listed in the letter.  Lottie’s Aunt Helen is a famous author of a children’s book series, kind of equivalent to J.K Rowling and Harry Potter in popularity. It is hard for her to grieve for her aunt when the world wants to stop you and give their condolences. Everyone loved her aunt and her Alvin Hatter series. This novel is about Lottie learning how to grieve, but the bigger story is Lottie’s self discovery and dealing with her anxiety.

Lottie and her aunt shared these anxiety attacks and as the book goes on we realize that the tasks Helen has left Lottie are multi-purpose. They are to help her gain confidence, allaying her anxieties, but also teaching her how to live and take courage in the living of her life. The letters also lead up to a big personal secret of her aunt’s that is mind blowing and takes this novel in a direction I didn’t foresee.

I loved this novel! It had such heart, and the more I came to know Lottie, the more I really liked her and wanted to see her overcome her fears of life and of death. Her aunt’s letters revealed a lot about Helen’s personality giving the reader insight into why Lottie and her family were so overwhelmed with grief. This author did such a great job of adding subtle depth to each character that their quirks made them interesting and added to their real-ness. There was only one plot point that made me stop in my tracks and go “what??”. You’ll either love it or hate it, but I loved it and didn’t want the story to end where it did.

This was my first novel by Katrina Leno and if they are all this good and quirky, I’ll be a fan forever. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Everything All At Once Click this link to purchase! Everything All at Once Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved