A Thousand Salt Kisses by Josie Demuth
Published April 29, 2016 by Wise Ink Creative Publishing, 443 pp.
Copy provided by Wise Ink and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Seventeen-year-old Crystal White is the new girl on Starfish Island. Dragged to the remote community by her environmental activist father, she is eager to find fun that doesn’t involve touching fish guts or listening to local folklore.
During a midnight swim with some new friends, Crystal is pulled out to sea by the waves. Convinced she’s going to drown, Crystal is rescued by Llyr, a handsome stranger. As she searches for him in the following weeks, she finds there may be more truth to the Starfish legends than she thought.
Over a sizzling roller-coaster summer, Llyr introduces Crystal to magic she’d only ever dreamed of. But as Crystal comes to love Starfish Island, it begins to drive her family apart. A nearby power plant is devastating local marine life, and her parents are stuck in the middle. As the magic and mundane parts of Crystal’s life converge, she finds herself risking everything to save Llyr, her family, and herself.
How goes it?
I’m— I don’t know what to say. Where to start? That the heroine is one-dimensional, as are the rest of the characters? That the parents don’t act older than teenagers? That this book somehow managed to take mer-people and make them uninteresting? This is also another book that has transitioned from Wattpad to print, before I say anything else.
Honestly the blurb is interesting enough – new girl comes to island, and in a party when she first arrives, she runs into trouble, but is saved by a mystery boy. There is also something beneath the waves, something the locals know, and as the newcomer she’s dying to find out. Last but not the least, there’s the evil capitalist wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem and domestic discord in the heroine’s household.
All the ingredients in the summary should’ve made a more compelling read but for me it didn’t do anything except induce excessive eyerolling. The writing isn’t great, a bit juvenile for me, and it could use a good editor – Crystal, the heroine, “cries” too much (like every time she speaks, it’s rarely “said” – often it’s “cries”, even if it’s just being contrary to someone) and somehow the endings in each chapter are abrupt; the parents bicker and act like teenagers, and the romance is flat. Like I can’t even muster up annoyance towards this tried-romance – it’s insta-love in its most basic form and I can’t feel anything for it.
Aside from the insta-love, the relationships the heroine has with other people here don’t develop as well – the deepest conversation she’s had with her friend Rosie is about the mer and even that is cut short when she has to leave (I’m not counting that conversation they had about Crystal possible doing it with Llyr, I’m just not); her parents are busy duking it out with each other to pay attention to their daughter; and George, the old fisherman, may actually be her closest friend in the island.
The mythology about the mer is kind of throwaway, which is a shame, because it could actually be interesting – the mer peoples as evolved from humans due to a curse long ago? Tell me more. But as it is, the focus of this book is the romance between Crystal and Llyr, which, ugh.
I finished this just because I felt like it would be unfair to give a review if I didn’t give it a shot and I actually read the whole book.
Basically: no, don’t.