Cover image for Summer of salt
Summer of salt
Summer of salt
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.
Physical Description:
256 pages ; 22 cm
No one on the island of By-the-Sea would call the Fernweh women what they are, but if you need the odd bit of help, such as a sleeping aid concocted by moonlight, they are the ones to ask. Georgina Fernweh waits for the tingle of magic in her fingers-- magic that has already touched her twin sister, Mary. But with her eighteenth birthday looming at the end of her last summer on the island, Georgina fears her gift will never come. She meets and falls in love with Prue Lowry, a visitor to the island. When a 300-year-old bird, Annabella, is found violently murdered, suddenly the island doesn't seem so magical. Georgina turns to the Ouija board to discover the dark secrets of Annabella's death.


Call Number
Material Type
YA LENO New or Popular Book YA Fiction

On Order



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

Practical Magic meets Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls and Laura Ruby's Bone Gap in this lush, atmospheric novel by acclaimed author Katrina Leno.

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 at the end of this summer, 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.

Praise for Katrina Leno:

"Leno's writing is flawless. Readers of all ages will find themselves swept away." --VOYA

"Charming and sophisticated." --Kirkus

"Crackles with wit, humor, and enormous love."--Booklist (starred review)

"Introduces a fierce new presence."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-The Fernweh family has lived on the island of By-the-Sea-where the two smells you can always be sure of are "salt and magic"-for generations. Almost 18-year-old twins Georgina and Mary are the latest in a long line of Fernweh women with magical gifts ranging from teleportation to potion-making (the sisters' mother Penelope can brew a mean hangover cure). Every summer, By-the-Sea also hosts 300-year-old Annabella, an Eastern Seaborn Flicker bird who may be a Fernweh herself, and the influx of tourists who come to see her. But when Annabella is found violently murdered, suddenly the island doesn't seem so magical, and more than one dark secret must be uncovered. A magical realist YA book is still a relatively rare sight, and Leno expertly crafts this example of the genre with atmospheric prose and subtle feminism. The real heart of the novel is the exceptionally well-written female characters and relationships. Leno's way of writing Georgina's blossoming first love with island visitor Prue Lowry is so sweet and purely devoid of the "problem novel" overtones that accompany so many LGBTQ+ relationships in fiction. Her examination of the trauma of sexual assault and the "imperfect victim" is sophisticated and complex. VERDICT A necessary novel that is, at the same time, so enjoyable to read that teens will have to fight the urge to crawl into the pages. Buy multiple copies.-Ann Santori, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Twins Mary and Georgina have lived on By-the-Sea Island for all their nearly 18 years, helping their mother run their inn during the annual summer festival marking the arrival of a rare bird. It seems like a scientific oddity, but Georgina knows the truth: her family is magic, and the bird is really her ancestor Annabella, who's been returning to the island for 300 years. Georgina's worried about leaving for college, but that quickly moves to the back burner when Annabella is found murdered. As island-wide anxiety sets in, Georgina and her friends try to figure out who killed Annabella, while Mary mysteriously starts to crumble. Leno cultivates a dynamic atmosphere on the isolated island populated by quirky people. The setting is in compelling contrast to the increasingly dark plot, which eventually folds in topics such as sexual assault and rape culture. Georgina's struggle to find her own magic talents adds emotional depth, and her homosexuality is treated with refreshing frankness. Hand to fans of substantial magic realism who don't mind a healthy dose of twee whimsy.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist