Book Review: Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

I recently checked out Summer of Salt from the library, and can I just say: I was NOT disappointed! It was a really fun, immersive book and I can’t believe it isn’t being talked about more. Well, here I am, talking about it.

Summer of Salt

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno, published June 5th, 2018 by HarperTeen. Recommended reading age is 12+

Trigger Warnings: This book has underage drinking, animal death, talk of rape, mentions of losing parents, and natural disasters/intense flooding.

Official Synopsis:

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.


Katrina Leno is the author of Everything All at Once, The Lost & Found, The Half Life of Molly Pierce, and Summer of Salt. In real life, she lives in Los Angeles. But in her head, she lives on an imaginary island off the coast of New England where it sometimes rains a lot. Visit her online at

I really loved this book. It reminds me of this tiny town I used to live in in Oregon, where you could walk one end to the other in under an hour. I lived on Main Street. There was one school where every kids no matter the age went, one library, one grocery store, one everything. It was a logging community, but that’s about where the similarities end. By-The-Sea made me feel homesick for that small Oregon town I lived in for a year, and it made me long for the sleepy beach town I spent summer growing up in.

I adored how immersive this book was. I loved how magical and sincere it was. I also loved how the twins were represented! Their conversations were pretty realistic. You help them how you can, and sometimes begrudgingly, but you love and trust them no matter what.

I think the magic system was unique in that it was unpredictable and seemingly there for no reason, but everyone just accepted it. It was fun learning about their ancestors and their magic, or lack of in some certain cases. I also loved how Georgina found her powers. That was bad ass!

One thing I was not expecting from this book was the bird aspect. It was original, that’s for sure. It made me really sad that it seemed like the bird heads would stop coming to the island when everyone found out about Annabella, but I’m glad others decided to stay. To have grown up with these people and all of a sudden they stop coming? That would feel awful.

I really liked Prue and her brother, Aggie, the twins and their mom. They were a fun group. I was so glad Prue was the love interest. She was adorable. I loved reading about her and Georgina’s little walks. I also loved whenever they went sleuthing. #dategoals

I’m not quite sure how else to describe this book, but trust me on the fact that this book is well worth your time. It’s the perfect summer book, it’s magical and gay, and it’s important. Please read it, and if you love it, talk with me!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno”

  1. I want to read this book so much. I mean, as you said “it’s magical and gay.” That is basically all it has to be to sell me. Also, the cover is just sooo pretty? I don’t think I will ever be over it. Amazing review! I am very curious to find out about these birds you mentioned.

    Liked by 2 people

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