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The Sweetness of Salt Paperback – May 22, 2012
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. I really felt for her. There was fantastic character development in this book as both Julia and Sophie were well-rounded and complex.
I also really liked many of the secondary characters like Aidan, a boy Julia befriends and who was getting over a family tragedy himself. Julia and Aidan formed a genuine friendship with nothing romantic whatsoever between them, which I thought was a welcome change. I just really liked the mood of this book and how it flowed--it was an emotional read but not so much that you get bogged down by all that was happening. This book was just a great contemporary read with wonderfully complex characters, a great small town setting and a plot that sucks you in and keeps you reading. If you're in the mood for a book about sisters and family secrets, I highly recommend The Sweetness of Salt. 5 out 5 stars