Summer of Salt

by Katrina Leno

All of the women in the Fernweh family discover their magical power by the age of... read more

All of the women in the Fernweh family discover their magical power by the age of 18. Twins Georgie and Mary are turning 18 at the end of summer and will leave the tiny island of By-the-Sea for the first time to attend college. Mary has always been able to float if not fly, but Georgie suspects she, herself, may not have any magic. The girls and their mother, who concocts potions, run an inn that’s overrun each summer by “birdheads,” ornithologists and devoted fans of an extremely rare bird called Annabella that only appears on By-the-Sea for two months of the year. The Fernwehs suspect Annabella is Georgie and Mary’s 300-year-old “great-great-great–Maybe-another-great-” aunt, who could fly, and disappeared around the time the bird first showed up generations ago. When a week passes with no sign of Annabella, birdheads and island dwellers alike are nervous. When two and then three weeks pass, they become frantic. The discovery of Annabella does not bring the relief everyone hoped for, and Georgie is more worried than most: Mary is suddenly distant and depressed, and seems to be hiding something. Magical realism is at its finest in this deft blend of fantasy with sometimes-harsh reality in a story that grippingly illuminates the life-altering effects of sexual assault and trauma while never losing sight of the magic that is hope and healing. (Ages 13–18)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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