Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
On-Sale Date: Available Now
Young Adult Fiction \ Fantasy \ Historical
Ages 12 And Up, Grades 7 to 17
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 416 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating:
Amazon | Goodreads | Website


You don't know what you must give up to become a witch.

Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island's sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability.

Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she's never been wrong before.

Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.

Avery walks the knife's edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper's sweeping debut: the story of one girl's fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets. 

Rich in detail and darkly enchanting, YA author Kendall Kulper has created something unique in her novel SALT & STORM. 

I have had SALT & STORM on my to-read list forever and I’m so happy I finally decided to read it.  Refreshing and creative, I surprised myself and ended up devouring this in a day.

One of my favorite aspects of the story is the magic of the Roe family witches and the islander’s whaling life which is created with such an authentic feel.  With inspiration taken from New England folklore, sailing customs and superstitions, and influences from Polynesian culture (tattoos), there is a rich historic feel mixed in with the magic. Think good luck charms and magic spells to ensure safety to sailors. “Tying the winds” and witch’s knots.

The setting of Prince Island lends itself perfectly as a backdrop to an early American whaling community where the locals respect and fear the Roe woman. Witches who have kept their sailors safe and the island prosperous. This is the heritage of young Avery Roe who wants nothing more than to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and to keep the whalers safe when out at sea. Unfortunately, her mother wants Avery to abandon all magic and become a lady of society. 

Caught up in a power struggle between two of the last Roe women, Avery must choose sides - only her mother has cast a curse that prevents Avery from leaving. Until she meets Tane, the handsome, tattooed boy from an island near New Zealand, who comes to Prince Island looking for answers to help him avenge the murder of his family. With his help and magic, Avery may be able to break the curse.

Each with a distinctive history, Kulper introduces bits and pieces about Avery and Tane that I could not help but be fascinated by all the while enjoying the slow-building romance. Avery’s  struggles and Tane's need for revenge are easily felt, making them both relatable.

The pace of SALT & STORM is more thoughtful and leisurely, allowing readers to soak in the vivid customs and details. Avery and Tane’s voices are distinct, as well as the magic and setting. Some patience is needed as the story unwinds. 

There is a strong female theme in this story. It is about mothers, daughters, their heritage, and the strong bond they share for better and worse. 

Also, this is no easy magic. There is nothing frivolous about it and Kulper writes it with all the backlash. Magic for the Roe woman comes at a price, and Avery is about to find out just what it will cost her.

SALT & STORM is a great choice for a Fall read for those who enjoy the lavish touches of a historical mixed in with the dark, atmosphere of a supernatural. A unique time and place make for an entertaining and memorable read.