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The Sweetness of Salt Paperback – May 22, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 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: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 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: #4,879,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 the Hardcover edition.

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. www.ceciliagalante.com

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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The story was wonderful and the characters well-developed.
Nancy S. Russell
I enjoyed it - enough so that I stayed up late reading last night and finished it this morning.
Tina Says
From the outside peeking in one may easily assume that Julia leads the perfect life.
N., The BookBandit

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well written book. Enjoyed the story line and the meaning and finished the book in just one day at the beach. Looking forward to more books from Cecilia.
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By Mary Beth Mullen on April 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was an awesome story with a good lesson behind it. The character of Sophie was my favorite. Loved it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Valedictorian and all around perfect daughter Julia couldn't be more different than her volatile older sister Sophie. So when Julia ditches her plans to be a summer intern in favor of helping her sister open a bakery five hours away, her parents are less than thrilled. But the sisters need time to heal from a devastating family secret that Julia just learned. And Julia just might learn to be her own person, rather than the perfect child she was groomed to be.

While Julia's narration did keep me interested, the dialogue seemed artificial and contrived. Too often there was more "telling" than "showing" and use of passive verbs. After the secret was revealed 25% into the novel, what ensued was Sophie telling her version of events that transpired before Julia was born and revealing some of her own secrets that were fairly obvious before they were revealed. I had difficulty relating to Julia, who was somewhat whiny and actually likes Sophie better, even though she was sometimes unkind.

THE SWEETNESS OF SALT was a mostly forgettable read.
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By James W. Hamlin on January 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante is a simple yet powerful story that captures the reality of family struggles, secrets, lies, friendship, and sisterhood. Genuine and relatable characters make this book truly emotional and heartwarming. Despite the captivating plot and characters, I did find the resolution at the end of the book to be somewhat unrealistic and ineffective. It happened too fast, without the necessary dialogue and clarity to mend the bonds within the family. Even so, the characters were impeccably developed, especially Sophie, who you cannot quite figure out until you've read the whole book. The book alluded to parts of Sophie's past, which make the reader question whether or not Sophie is really a good person. The characters are what make this book such a hit. I couldn't agree more with the review by Michelle Witte "Michelle". Galante tells a very refreshing story that avoids typical YA book themes of teen romance and melodrama. There was one romantic relationship developing in the book, but it took a minor role compared to the family, friendship, and sisterhood that grew as part of the main plot. My favorite aspect of Galante's style is displayed in this quote: "She stopped. Her hands clenched into fists as she whirled around and marched back in my direction. Pieces of her hair had come loose from underneath the bandanna. She was breathing hard. `That is not what happened...'". I enjoyed the use of short sentences to put emphasis on serious and important times in the book. Overall, this book was very enjoyable and refreshing. I would recommend this book to people of all ages, because of the universally relatable themes and the pleasantly surprising absence of cliché YA book characteristics.
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