author : hannah moskowitz
pages : [hardcover] 258
favorite character : indi
Even though their parents disappeared during a hunt three months ago, seventeen-year-old Indi and his siblings, Beleza, Oscar, and Zulu, continue to roam the Mediterranean on their sailboat and hunt down monsters–but Indi yearns for a more settled life for his family, and he hopes that his parents’ journal with its tantalizing hints of a treasure, will provide them all with the means of escape from their nomadic and dangerous life before it is too late.
What would you do, if your family was a group of seafaring monster hunters, and one day your parents leave and never end up coming back?
Indi and his siblings (Beleza, who likes to think that she’s in charge; Oscar, who wants to be a doctor; Zulu, who’s the youngest and should probably really be in school) grew up on the ocean. They belong to no place, only to each other. When the worst happens and their parents don’t return from a hunt, Indi and Beleza need to keep track of the kids. They need to keep themselves alive. And, maybe, they need to get some revenge.
Salt is a story about family. An unconventional one, because they have an unconventional life, but siblings are mostly the same toward each other whether they grow up thousands of miles from the sea, or right on top of it. Indi and his brother and sisters are part of that rare group of people who know that monsters exist. Because of this, their parents dedicated their lives—and their children’s lives—to keeping all of those ignorant people on their safe. It’s their job to learn about where a monster is, and then destroy it before it figures out how to eat them.
I really liked this book because it was so different. Indi’s voice is a unique one, trying to be tough in the face of his parents’ disappearance, all too young when he realizes how much has been left on his shoulders. He doesn’t even want to hunt monsters; what he wants more than anything is a normal life, and you can feel the anger seeping into his thoughts and actions as he’s forced to follow in his parents’ footsteps. It’s incredible relatable, even in this incredibly unique situation.
One thing that completely pulled me out of the story, though, was how jarringly the plot would move ahead. In one moment, we would linger over a quiet scene that’s great for characterization but does nothing overall for the plot of the book. Then something big, that the words have been building up to for a long time, will be breezed over in a few sentences, or referred to off-handedly because we don’t get to see that scene at all. I think it’s possible not to make the monster-hunting the center of the story without completely discounting it. The story’s content shouldn’t have been an afterthought to characterization. Even then, characters would sometimes make absurd choices that seemed only tailored to move the plot forward . . . the plot which the book had already deemed unimportant.
Overall, though, I really did like this book. I liked reading about Indi and his family; I liked never knowing what was going to happen next in their rough-and-tumble lifestyle. Salt is something new, something refreshing (even when there’s no freshwater to be found, cue the laughter). Hannah Moskowitz’s books are always unique and fun to read.