The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante
Published November 9th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
From the Publisher:
Julia just graduated as her high school valedictorian, has a full ride to college in the fall and a coveted summer internship clerking for a federal judge. But when her older sister, Sophie, shows up at the graduation determined to reveal some long buried secrets, Julia's carefully constructed plans come to a halt. Instead of the summer she had painstakingly laid out, Julia follows Sophie back to Vermont, where Sophie is opening a bakery - and struggling with some secrets of her own. What follows is a summer of revelations - some heartwarming, some heartbreaking, and all slowly pointing Julia toward a new understanding of both herself and of the sister she never really knew.
Julia thought she had everything worked out after graduating high school. She would start her internship at a law firm over the summer then go to Pittsburgh with plans of being a lawyer just like her father. When Julia's older sister Sophie comes back home to celebrate, arguments ensue (like they always do when Sophie arrives), and a family secret begins to reveal itself. Julia’s perfectly planned world is turned upside down and she decides to do the unthinkable. Put her life and potential career on hold, and follow her sister Sophie back to Vermont where she is opening a bakery. Julia needs answers - why does Sophie always bring up the times when her family lived in Milford before Julia was born? Why is Sophie angry and hateful to everyone? Sophie left home when she was in middle school. They barely have anything in common, but somehow Julia knows that her sister needs her. And something tells Julia that she needs Sophie too. Julia threw away her summer internship in an attempt to find answers and salvage her relationship with her sister. What else is she willing to sacrifice to find herself?
The Sweetness of Salt is a perfect example of how secrets can tear a family apart. People try to sweep the ugliness under the rug, and just when you think it’s good and gone, the secret starts to creep its way back to the surface. Julia and Sophie’s relationship is rocky. They have never been close - partly due to the age difference, but mostly because of Sophie’s anger. The mystery surrounding the secret and Sophie’s anger are slow to develop, but perfectly timed. Gradually we learn about Sophie’s past. Meanwhile, Julia starts to question her future and meets a young man, Aiden, who is coming to grips with his own loss. To my surprise, this is an honest friendship and not a love interest. How refreshing! The relationship between the sisters begins to mend. Actually, I would say form because they never really had a solid relationship to start. I would love for high school girls to read this book. It deals with guilt and shame, and the consequences of carrying those feelings around for too long. Not easy to put down….
4 out of 5 stars!
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