Cover Image: The Sea Is Salt and So Am I

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I

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Member Reviews

A jagged, complex book about twin brothers, the girl who's shadowed them for years, and a town falling into the sea.
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This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our library collection on preorder and will recommend it to students.
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4.5 stars

This is an interesting book. I feel like I could have easily been bored with the story but something about the writing and the characters made me want to keep reading. It's a multi- POV story and honestly I hated/was frustrated with each one of the three main characters at least once throughout the book, but they also felt believable and realistic as teenagers.

I would describe this book as quiet with not a very straightforward storytelling. It takes place in a small town that gets hit with storms pretty often and there are other issues the residents face because of the global warming. There are characters with a depression and disability caused by an accident. 

What I found unusual in this book was that some things are implied or hinted at a few times without actually telling you what happened, and you get to try connecting dots until suddenly the writer hits you with a memory or confession with the truth when you least expect it. I was a little confused with how it ended because it was more of an open ending, again not very straightforward, so we can make out of it what we best want I guess. 

Overall, I think some might find it maybe a little repetitive and monotonous, but I liked it anyway because of the atmosphere and the pace. The book was very enjoyable to me in a kind of soothing way.
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This was a interesting read. And to be honest I struggled for a bit! But quickly after it got better. I don't know if it was the writing or what.... But other than that this was a good YA fiction book! 
I didn't care for this ending I thought it could have been more!
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These are some of the most believable characters I've ever read in this genre. For anyone that gets frustrated reading YA, feeling like the teens are either too immature, or have too much adult-like perspective, this book is for you. 

The book is in multiple POV and every character has both faults and redemptive qualities aplenty. The story shows exactly how people, especially sixteen-year-olds, live inside contradictions. How any one person can be selfish yet loving (Harlow), ambitious yet needy (Ellis), talented yet struggling (Tommy).    

It's familiar in the love-triangle setup, yet feels fresh and new tackling subjects like depression, disability and climate change. Set in a coastal Maine town falling into the sea, I could feel it, taste it, smell it. So real, thinking about it feels like accessing memory from a vacation I've taken myself. The writing is *so good*—the author could probably find a way to make a story about a blank white wall lyrical and interesting. I underlined so many amazing lines.

This is a beautiful, ambitious and remarkable book.
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There was such a profoundly tragic beauty to every part of this story: the vanishing small coastal town that threatens to slip beneath the waves with each passing year, the way we cannot plan our futures and selectively remember the past; the fact that everything, everything, everything changes. I found this novel beautiful and evocative--I felt like sometimes I too was sometimes biking through the salty mist--but while I enjoyed moving between the three main characters POV, I did feel like there was sometimes a (slight) lack of distinction between the three. There was also an adult literary quality to this novel, despite a squarely YA story. And while the end will likely generate a lot of debate and conversation, I loved how purposefully unclear the ending of the novel is. In a novel full of secrets, it felt fitting for the reader to be on the outside of a secret too. Really beautiful, surprisingly moving novel. CW: suicide, depression
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I very much enjoyed the setting of this book and felt that the author did a good job describing it and setting it up. The characters were complex but not overly so and seemed realistic as well. The author wrote about mental health in a way that didn’t come across poorly or condescending either. 

I did not enjoy the multiple narrators, even though it did work well for this book. 

I also didn’t like the ending, although that’s just a personal preference of course!
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This book contains some beautiful, poetic passages in a drama of romance, friendship, and grief set in a town threatened by global warming and rising sea levels.  The tragic beauty of the setting establishes the tone of the story, this sense of washing away and longing to preserve that which may not be able to be saved.  The narration alternates between twin brothers Ellis and Tommy and Harlowe, whose relationship with the brothers is best described as complicated.  The cast of townsfolk is also engaging. The last third of the book seemed to lag and there are some turns in the plot that come up without any foreshadowing so feel a bit jolting. The ending felt a bit too easy for the protagonists, but wrapped up an engaging and intriguing story.
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I absolutely loved this book. 

It is this story about two best friends, Harlow and Ellis, who have an incredibly codependent friendship.  They are in high school, and they have this master PLAN that they have had since childhood to attend the same college and live these parallel lives. Harlow is a pushy, fixer, and Ellis is this golden boy who just charms his way through everything.   Ellis has a twin brother, Tommy, who kicks the book off trying to drown himself in the sea.  
Harlow does all these things to try to save things- her friendship, the plan, her town (falling into the sea- fuck erosion!!), but ends up pushing away everything by trying too hard. 

Ellis loses all the things he thinks are important- his track dreams, his leg (not as important to the plot as you might think), and Harlow.  Everyone gives Harlow flack for pushing too much, but Ellis kinda railroads his dreams out of town too. 

I don't want to tell you too much about Tommy because he is my favorite secret sauce in the story, but he is really struggling with being okay with being okay.  Most of what I have described sounds very trivial, but it really depicts the delicate tightrope that families walk when one member suffers from mental illness.
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I regret that this is a DNF. I persevered to 34% into the book before surrendering. I just could not get a feel for the characters' personalities. I understood their back stories and what their plot lines were, but I never became invested in them. It might have stemmed from the author's writing style, which seemed to purposely keep the characters from relating to each other, and by extension, kept me from connecting with them, too. This would need strong readers to navigate the prose and the characters' emotional relationships with each other.
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PREFACE: I'm reviewing this as a YA title - but, if I looked at it through the lens of literary fiction, I'd have an entirely different take. 

There are moments when you'll think, "This is what John Green tried to do for mental illness in Turtles All the Way Down." But then Hartt throws in one more plot complication and the seasonal storm threatening to pull the town of West Finch into the ocean looks like it is going to take the entire plot of the novel with it. If this was intended for an adult audience, I could ride out the continual crash of new content, but the foundation of the story cannot take another wave pummelling its foundation, and that, too, is looking like it is headed out to sea. 

Told from the point of view of three teenage characters, two of whom are twin brothers and the other is one brother's friend, one's enemy. One brother is bi, the other is not. One brother lost a leg and the other did not. One brother has a best friend, the other does not. One brother watches the other go into the raging, frigid Atlantic Ocean in March. He says nothing. But alas, the brother at sea is discovered by a lobster fisherman, and he spends some time in the hospital recovering. But his notes were found. Did not complete. Must come back from the worst or try again.

And then there is Harlow, the friend, who is a meddler and a fighter, currently advocating for saving the town from eroding back into the sea. But she can't because of the Piping Plovers, tiny endangered birds who lay their eggs on the beach. However, Harlow thinks she can save things, even when she is causing the problem.

All worthwhile topics with so much merit, but the book is long and there's so much more to unpack. If it is YA, it needs to take a step back. If it is literary fiction - then dive into the stormy sea. There is some strong writing in these pages, and the cover is spot-on perfect for this title.
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Harlow Prout, like many young adults, finds herself uncertain of her future: How will her SAT scores impact her college choices, who is going to help her save the community from being swept into the ocean, and which MacQueen twin does she truly love? Can she have both?

The MacQueen twins, Ellis and Tommy, used to share that "twin thing" where they could feel and sense one another almost uncannily. But as they've grown older- since age 9, Tommy is quick to remember- they've drifted apart. Ellis dreams of making the varsity track team; his prosthetic leg and running blade enable his competitive side. He floats from one fling to another, completely in-touch with his bisexual identity. His best friend Harlow and he are attached at the hip; sometimes the two of them have more of a twin-shadow than he and his own identical brother. Tommy MacQueen is forced to reckon with the idea that "something good can come from something bad" and as he navigates through his depression, he finds an unlikely support in his brother's best friend.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I is a touching multiperspective glimpse into the reality of teens' lives. Hartt's ability to depict depression is an attribute that will resonate with many young adult readers. Each of the three main characters is dynamic and full of life. Their internal conflicts and emotions will resonate with teen readers looking to identify with characters who don't yet know how their Plan will play out.

Hartt's writing is replete with details that will draw its readers in. Beautiful, oceanfront Maine is the backdrop for these teens as they navigate new-driver nerves, environmental crises, and secrets that threaten to shift the comfortable dynamic that they have molded into just fine over the last seven years.

**I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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This book shows the power of grit. Life is hard but so worth showing up for and being the best you can no matter how big or small. The characters in this book all have challenges, some you can see and some that live under the surface. In the end what we do with all of that is what makes us human.  I think we can all benefit from learning from these special moments and ordinary how to keep going.
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I enjoyed this YA book for multiple reasons.  It reminded me of the how hard it is to be a teenager.  The insecurities, the complexities of first love, and the passion of their believes.  An added bonus to the story for me was the setting.  I am a Maine resident and was surprised by the story taking place in Maine. It was fun to have the characters visiting local attractions.  I am also the parent of identical twins so the brothers being such was unique to me as well.  The author captures the strangeness of having the same face as another person but being completely different from them.
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