Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
To be published by Little, Brown on September 23, 2014
Source: e-ARC from publisher via Edelweiss
Summary from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself. Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.
Review of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
I love witch books, and based on the synopsis I was kind of picturing this one as The Witch of Blackbird Pond meets Brides of Rollrock Island.
I also love historical fiction, so I was excited about all the whaling lore. There was whaling lore, and a lot of fascinating historical detail. Clearly, this author did her research, and that attention to detail really shines through.
But I will be honest: the first two-thirds of this book were pretty slow for me. For nearly 300 pages, Avery is going around the island, complaining about how awful her mother is and trying to interpret the dreams of the tattooed harpoon boy mentioned in the synopsis. Interesting enough, but for me that wasn't enough to carry the plot for that long.
There is also not much witchcraft (as the synopsis explains) and I was feeling pretty restless.
But then in the last third of the story ... ALL the things happen. Salt & Storm saves all its revelations and heartbreak and action for the last hundred pages or so. And those pages were really good. And, unlike Sway, I was excited that Salt & Storm didn't hesitate to go for the gutsy ending. (That's what I talked about in the spoiler above, if you're curious.) So if this one appeals to you, and you're finding the pace a little slow, just be patient.