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The Sweetness of Salt Paperback – May 22, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–High school valedictorian and overachiever Julia feels that she has her life all figured out. She plans to be a lawyer like her father, who has lined up a summer internship for her, to be followed by pre-law at a college where she has been given a full scholarship. Julia has never questioned her parents' overprotectiveness or their insistence on perfection in everything. This all changes when her older sister Sophie, who has long been estranged from the family, comes to her graduation and gives her a car and an invitation to visit her in Vermont, where she is renovating an old house and planning to open a bakery. Impulsively, Julia decides to take Sophie up on the offer and ends up spending the summer working on the house, meeting new people, and discovering some truths that her parents have kept from her. Julia also comes to understand herself better and to make her own decisions for her future. This is a quiet but powerful story, and the gradual revelations of family secrets make it an absorbing read. Both Julia and Sophia are complex, believable characters, and the slow development and strengthening of their relationship is one of the highlights of the book. Readers of Laurie Halse Anderson's Catalyst (Viking, 2002) and Megan Frazer's Secrets of Truth and Beauty (Hyperion, 2009) will appreciate this story, as will Sarah Dessen fans.–Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Cecilia Galante has a BA from King's College, Pennsylvania, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Vermont. She is the author of the YA novel, The Patron Saint of Butterflies (Bloomsbury), as well as middle grade fiction. A former high school English teacher, Cecilia lives with her husband and three children in Pennsylvania.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; Reprint edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599908530
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599908533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,108,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By michelle on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Julia just graduated from high school and in a couple of weeks she's going to start her internship with a federal judge. In the fall, she's going to attend the University of Pittsburgh on a full ride scholarship and eventually become a lawyer like her father. But all of Julia's plans were shot to hell when her much older sister Sophie came to visit. Sophie and Julia were never close, partly due to their age difference but mostly because Sophie's anger and hateful attitude--every time she comes to visit, arguments and fights always ensued between Sophie and their parents. This time was no different except Sophie was determined to reveal long-held family secrets. Intent on learning what Sophie and her parents were keeping from her, Julia decided to follow Sophie to Poultney, Vermont. But what began as a weekend stay with a sister Julia didn't really know became a summer of learning about each other, family relationships, friendship, revelations and eventually understanding.

I absolutely loved everything about this book, from the title and the simple cover to characters and plot. This book surprised me--I was expecting a scandalous secret and for the plot to go another way. Instead, I was treated to an emotional yet ultimately heartwarming story about two sisters and the journey they went through in understanding each other and themselves. Julia was a very likable narrator and I think there's some aspect to her that many girls can relate to. But my favorite character was Sophie because for the longest time in the book, like Julia, I couldn't figure her out. You're not sure whether to like her or be wary of her. In Julia's flashbacks, Sophie was very dark and angry and in the present you can tell she has this deep pain that's consuming her psychologically, emotionally and physically.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Novel Reaction on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In The Sweetness Of Salt by Cecilia Galante, Julia's life is exactly where she wants it to be. She just graduated at the top of her class, has an internship at a law firm, and got into her first choice of colleges. In order for her plans to unfold all she needs is to get through the dreaded family dinner. Sophie, Julia's older sister is in town to visit and has brought all the family drama with her. In the middle of dinner Sophie begins to tell a dark family secret which turns Julia's plans upside down. Not knowing if she can trust her parents Julia drives to stay with Sophie until she finds out the whole truth of the secret Sophie is hesitant to bring fully to light. While Sophie is slowly letting her secret out, Julia is finding that maybe her life isn't exactly going where she wants it to.

I enjoyed the emotion felt in this book. Julia's struggle to find her true self, Sophie's highs and lows, the parents overbearing nature. All the family connections were well thought out and portrayed in this novel. I was especially sympathetic to Sophie for the burden she had carried with her and the issues that she was still trying to overcome. There is quite a bit of language in this book which at times I thought was unnecessary but overall I really enjoyed this novel!
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By N., The BookBandit on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
From the outside peeking in one may easily assume that Julia leads the perfect life. She's just graduated at the top of her high school class where she was elected valedictorian, she's a soon-to-be intern in the district Attorney's office where she trail some of Ohio's big wig lawyers, and she's gearing up for her first year of college where she plans on following in the pre-law footsteps of her father.

Julia's life is far from perfect. Not only is she in love with a boy who barely speaks to her, but her whirlwind, fly by the seat of her pants older sister Sophie is in town for a visit. It's not that Julia isn't happy to see her sister, it's just that life is so much simpler when she's not around, when she's not picking fights and storming out of the family picture. But when Sophie hands over the keys to her VW Bug and offers Julia her own key to her Vermont house, she thinks maybe things are changing. Maybe Sophie's comes peacefully. Or maybe not.

When Sophie brings up a life long past, a life before Julia was born she knows round one of the fight is just beginning. But what Julia doesn't know is that this one argument will, not only set in motion a chain of events that will change her life forever, but also reveals a devastating family secret, a secret that Julia just can't handle, a secret that ultimately forces her to throw caution to the wind, to reevaluate her life, and find comfort and understanding in the confines of a small Vermont town.

Cecilia Galante, author of The Sweetness of Salt, has crafted a well written and well-balanced young adult novel. It's an emotionally charged novel that examines what happens when familial bonds are broken. It's heartwrenchingly real and heartwarming authentic.
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By Anna on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I used to hate contemporary books, and until a few months ago when Courtney Summers changed that, I had never read a contemporary book. Had no interested in doing so. I figured why read about things that could really happen? What's the point? But the point is walking away in the end from a book and feeling the types of things that I felt when I finished The Sweetness of Salt. Contemporary or Fantasy, there are always characters and there are always journeys and the journey that The Sweetness of Salt takes you on is a bittersweet one. It's confusing at times wondering why the family is in such a state of disarray but once I found out why my heart ached for them - all of them. When my sister and I were younger something happened that could have easily have left our family in the position that Julia and her family were in. In such a grieving state of complete worry and frantic over-protectiveness. The accident isn't the same as the one in The Sweetness of Salt but the outcome would have been the same - and for that reason I could only imagine the pain and the horror that Julia and her family had went through and all of the lose ends they needed to tie up by the end of the book.

The story itself was interesting... there wasn't sword-fighting and demon killing every which way but it kept me absolutely fascinated until the very end. I read the entire book in one sitting and didn't, even once, feel like putting it down, or that I could be doing something else with the time I spent reading the book. I was captured and completely and utterly okay with that. I loved the journey that Julia took personally, as well as the one she took with her older sister, Sofia. It was a very bittersweet coming of age story that has a lot of lessons, but also a lot of good advice.
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