Review: Salt by Hannah Moskowitz

The teenage years can be tough enough. Kids must find their way, determine the right path for their future, and many will fail to fulfill their parents’ expectations in the process. When you add in the fact that Indi’s parents are missing and presumed dead and he is one of four siblings, including one sibling who is much younger, things get complicated. Indi and his older sister, Beleza, assume responsibility for twelve-year-old master thief Oscar and six-year-old Zulu.

51uwkhh0yzlWhy hasn’t social services or someone else stepped in to get all of these kids proper care, you might wonder? Well, that’s kind of hard when they have spent most of their life living on vessels hunting ocean monsters with their parents.

And we’re not just talking about big marine mammals that might be daunting. We’re talking about morde d’eaus and El Diamante and a whole host of other monsters responsible for making whole ships disappear, as well as the occasional cat.

Beleza is on a mission that Indi thinks is crazy. She wants to hunt down the monster that presumably killed their parents.

In his heart, however, Indi isn’t that convinced about their mission or their capabilities. There’s a part of him that wants a different life for them all, so he obsesses about reading his parents’ journal to try to find clues to the treasure they told their children they had secured for them.

Indi meets an attractive young woman named Hura and his relationship with her may ultimately help hasten their victory… or the death and destruction of his whole family.

There’s a whole lot to applaud in this fast-paced YA adventure/coming-of-age story. Some may wish for more descriptive details about the monsters and hunts; I appreciated the minimalist approach that gave us just enough to entice our imagination and didn’t get bogged down with excessive details while moving through a hunt or attack. Moskowitz also avoids excessive introspection, which has its perks, too. Mentally and emotionally, we’re right where the protagonist is, and that makes his decisions more credible. Nothing is held back; anything Indi must discover feels like a full revelation to the reader as well.

Under the surface of a revenge/monster story, this is a tale about figuring out who you are, family obligations, principles and forgiveness. Every member of Indi’s family must decide what lines they’re willing to cross and what’s important to them.

I loved this story. Now, it may (or may not) matter to you to know a few things about me to understand how significant that statement is. I’ve flown in an ultralight.I’ve traveled by bus, plane and train. Extensively. 26 countries on 4 continents. And I’ve been out on the open ocean. I’ve sailed in the Irish Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. I’ve traveled over the Atlantic and crossed the English Channel.

The only kind of travel I have a problem with is by water. Not boating on lakes… boating on the ocean. I get seasick. Majorly. I’ve never overcome it.

So this book starts off with these kids on a boat and… you see, a lot of times when I get review copies I just take them and forget what they’re about. I put them on a list in order of release and work my way through. If a book isn’t working I pass and move on and then give it a second try and either read it or abandon it. So, between getting Salt and reading it, I only recalled it was YA.

I started the book and felt nauseous just reading.

And then I turned the page and there were monsters! And we were right into the middle of an attack and I was sold.

Of course, the other thing you may (or may not) need to know about me is that I almost drowned. I’m not talking about I had a little scare in a pool when I couldn’t touch bottom for a second or anything like that. I fell down a waterfall. A group of people formed a lifeline on shore and pulled me out after I was sucked down in a whirlpool.

So there’s a scene in the book that made me squirm, but it’s a testament to Moskowitz’s skill set, that she knows how to set a scene in such a way that the reader feels they are right there. That’s a testament to her skills. I loved this book. Sit down, strap yourself in and brave the high seas with Indi and his family to find out whether or not they can locate the treasure, the truth about their parents and fulfill the revenge mission Beleza has started them on.

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