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.
Sweetness of Salt
Sophie’s latest outburst, and abrupt departure back home, causes Julia’s parents to finally tell her the ‘truth’. She had a sister, Maggie, who died when she was four from asthma. Julia is incensed. How could her entire family keep such a secret from her? This revelation causes Julia to also abruptly depart, to visit Sophie and hear her side of the story. Why would she, of all people, keep the secret? Julia’s initial plan was to stay the weekend and return to start her legal internship on Monday, in preparation for her carefully planned out legal career. However Sophie is having a hard time telling her what happened, it is so painful. Sensing the story will come out over time, Julia decides to stay longer causing her parent’s anger to erupt since her father obtained the internship for her and his work has come undone.
Cecelia Galante has written a charming book. Julia is a typical teenager, book smart but not real life smart, unsure about the future, insecure about the boy she likes. Sophie could be the stereotypical older sister, a rebel with a cause, who loves Julia but doesn’t know how to convey the emotion. Their parents are overprotective, as are many. It becomes apparent that there is more to the story that was told to Julia by her parents. The relationship that develops between Julia and Sophie as the story unfolds, the self realization that Julia undergoes, the ancillary characters including ‘The Table of Knowledge’ as well as the very descriptive writing converge to make this book appealing. Despite the tragedy of Maggie, readers will smile as they read The Sweetness of Salt. (I won’t tell you why that’s the title. Find out for yourself.)