Publisher: Bloomsbury Teen
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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 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. 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