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The Salt in Our Blood

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Ten years ago, Cat's volatile mother, Mary, left her at her grandmother's house with nothing but a deck of tarot cards. Now seventeen, Cat is determined to make her life as different from Mary's as possible. When Cat's grandmother dies, she's forced to move to New Orleans with her mother. There, she discovers a picture of Mary holding a baby that's not her, leading her to Ten years ago, Cat's volatile mother, Mary, left her at her grandmother's house with nothing but a deck of tarot cards. Now seventeen, Cat is determined to make her life as different from Mary's as possible. When Cat's grandmother dies, she's forced to move to New Orleans with her mother. There, she discovers a picture of Mary holding a baby that's not her, leading her to unravel a dark family history and challenge her belief that Mary's mental health issues are the root of all their problems. But as Cat explores the reasons for her mother's breakdown, she fears she is experiencing her own. Ever since she arrived in New Orleans, she's been haunted by strangely familiar visitors--in dreams and on the streets of the French Quarter--who know more than they should. Unsure if she can rebuild her relationship with her mother, Cat is realizing she must confront her past, her future, and herself in the fight to try.


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Ten years ago, Cat's volatile mother, Mary, left her at her grandmother's house with nothing but a deck of tarot cards. Now seventeen, Cat is determined to make her life as different from Mary's as possible. When Cat's grandmother dies, she's forced to move to New Orleans with her mother. There, she discovers a picture of Mary holding a baby that's not her, leading her to Ten years ago, Cat's volatile mother, Mary, left her at her grandmother's house with nothing but a deck of tarot cards. Now seventeen, Cat is determined to make her life as different from Mary's as possible. When Cat's grandmother dies, she's forced to move to New Orleans with her mother. There, she discovers a picture of Mary holding a baby that's not her, leading her to unravel a dark family history and challenge her belief that Mary's mental health issues are the root of all their problems. But as Cat explores the reasons for her mother's breakdown, she fears she is experiencing her own. Ever since she arrived in New Orleans, she's been haunted by strangely familiar visitors--in dreams and on the streets of the French Quarter--who know more than they should. Unsure if she can rebuild her relationship with her mother, Cat is realizing she must confront her past, her future, and herself in the fight to try.

30 review for The Salt in Our Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andee

    BLOG|INSTAGRAM|TWITTER|YOUTUBE Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. TW: Suicide, alcoholism, death, irresponsible bipolar representation, rape, abuse My review includes quotes from the ARC. It also discusses in depth why this book was frustrating for me as a bipolar person to read. These are my own honest opinions. I am putting this in spoilers in case you don't want to see at length the reasons why I did not care for the rep BLOG|INSTAGRAM|TWITTER|YOUTUBE Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. TW: Suicide, alcoholism, death, irresponsible bipolar representation, rape, abuse My review includes quotes from the ARC. It also discusses in depth why this book was frustrating for me as a bipolar person to read. These are my own honest opinions. I am putting this in spoilers in case you don't want to see at length the reasons why I did not care for the representation of mental illnesses in this book, and also because, well, there is a spoiler. My official rating is 1.5 stars and those stars all belong solely to the tarot card characters. (view spoiler)[ "I still can't sort where her naturally larger-than-life personality ends, and the bipolar disorder begins." This story has the groundwork for a fantastical, supernatural tale, with familial curses and generations of mediums. We are given these scary characters who come up out of nowhere and resemble the tarot deck characters. We are given the foundation for a history of religious trauma, a priest who took things too far, and a girl who just wants to find the answers. All of this is given to us, which would create a memorable and exciting story- and none of it is used in the manner you would expect. This book took all of those opportunities and tossed them aside in exchange for villainizing bipolar disorder. "And maybe if there was a Mary before bipolar disorder, then there can be a Mary after." Mary experienced something traumatizing, and this has heightened her bipolar disorder as a teen. Instead of getting the necessary help, she drops Cat off at her grandmother's and continues living untreated. Cat only recalls her mother as an abusive rollercoaster, without a single ounce of empathy for her mother. This was frustrating because Cat is regularly educating us, the reader, on what bipolar is. It seems that despite all of the research this character has done, she has not found it in her to give a single fuck about her mother in a way that would have helped them both. Cat's abandonment issues should not necessarily be dismissed. She was lied to and tricked by her grandmother about her own mother's state. Living with an untreated bipolar person is not easy, and I'm not going to pretend that it is. "Even with the best doctors and the best meds and the best circumstances, I cannot ever forget my mother is bipolar. And I cannot let her forget it. Or it will overtake her-us- completely." It's difficult for me to get my thoughts down on why this book was so troubling. I am a bipolar person. I have what's called bipolar type II. It is considered the "less severe" bipolar disorder in that I experience more depressive episodes and less severe manic episodes. There is a lesser-known bipolar disorder subset that is known as "Rapid-Cycling." This disorder generally occurs when there has been no treatment for bipolar. Additionally, rapid-cycling is most commonly periods of more depressive episodes than manic episodes. You're probably wondering, Andee, why am I being educated on bipolar disorder? Because this book made me feel wrong and irresponsible for having it. It's hard to trigger me, even harder to make me feel bad for having a mental illness (or several). This book made me feel sick at my stomach for having bipolar and being untreated at some point. I give you all of this information to remind you that people with bipolar are…people. Often, people who have bipolar that present themselves later in life went through something extremely traumatizing. I address rapid cycling bipolar because it isn't clarified that Mary is experiencing this until 90% of the book. Cat takes all this time to show us how well educated she is on bipolar but doesn't even bother to tell us her mother's diagnosis. This shows, to me, that perhaps our author hasn't done enough research on mental illness to write about it. The part that hurts most is that at no point is bipolar written helpfully or kindly. It is perpetually treated like a negative and harmful thing. As if it is Mary's fault that she was not given the opportunities for better treatment. Putting these critiques aside, although they are reason enough for my low rating, this book wasn't good. The romance felt half-hearted, and the characters are flat. This fantastic paranormal world is built around us in the always interesting New Orleans, and our author just half uses all of the aspects. I expected this to be an enjoyable, witchy, paranormal book, and instead, I got a story about a girl digging up her mother's trauma, driving her to attempt suicide. But we put a disclaimer in the back saying that trauma isn't your fault and information on who to call when you're suicidal? Great. Problem solved. Genuinely, why even have all of these aspects and interesting tarot characters (which are the only interesting characters in the book) and just not use them? This book frustrated me to no end, not just because of the problematic representation of mental illness but also because of its lack of using the world it built. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    TW: Suicide, irresponsible bipolar disorder representation, sexual assault, alcoholism, death, emotional and sexual abuse Raing: 2.5/5 Stars I got this novel as an ARC from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I honestly don't know where to start with this book. I guess I'll start with the summary like I usually do. Catia wakes up one morning to find her grandmother and primary caretaker Moony dead. As a minor, Catia must now be taken in by her mother Mary, which she has a strained rela TW: Suicide, irresponsible bipolar disorder representation, sexual assault, alcoholism, death, emotional and sexual abuse Raing: 2.5/5 Stars I got this novel as an ARC from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I honestly don't know where to start with this book. I guess I'll start with the summary like I usually do. Catia wakes up one morning to find her grandmother and primary caretaker Moony dead. As a minor, Catia must now be taken in by her mother Mary, which she has a strained relationship with due to her mother's bipolar disorder. Her mom moves Catia to New Orleans, where her mom has a profession as a tarot reader, and goes through a journey to discover more about her mother and about herself. At first, I was extremely excited for this book. I am trying to learn more about reading tarot cards, so the initial concept had me super excited to see more about symbolism and where the author would take it. There were some really interesting takes on it throughout the novel, which I thought was really interesting but at times felt like it fell a bit flat. The rest of the story, however, was definitely not well-executed. One of the big things we learn is that Cat's mother has bipolar disorder, and as such as created such a giant divide between Cat and her mom. However, the amount of times I have read Cat refer to her mom's disorder as a "disease" and an "illness" has enraged me beyond all words. At some part of the novel, Cat says the equivalent of "If there is my mom before bipolar disorder, maybe there is my mom after bipolar disorder," which heavily insinuates that bipolar disorder is something that can be cured. Even at the very end, when we are supposed to be seeing Cat grow and develop in understanding her mom's disorder, she still refers to it as an illness! She says she has grown to accept that it's a part of her family's history, but how can you do that if you still call it an illness and place a negative stereotype on bipolar disorder and, as a result, all mental health issues? Another issue that is NOT handled well at all is the topic of sexual assault and survivor's trauma. Cat spends a majority of the novel trying to uncover her mother's mysterious past, but as a result ends up causing severe lashback for her mom as a survivor of sexual assault. It extremely aggravated me that there were several signs of Cat's mom being a survivor, but she kept digging and forcing that trauma to surface until her mother has to take matters in her own hands, which I do not want to get into. It made me really hate Cat as a character. In the author's note of the novel, Ava Morgyn states that she herself has dealt with suicidal thoughts, and personally I think that the matter of suicidal thoughts was handled okay. It wasn't the best rep I've seen, but also not the worst. However, I really wish more research had been done on the proper treatment of bipolar disorder. There was the brief hint of a romance plotline with Daniel, and I wish we saw more of his family. However, he did say one line near the middle of the book when Cat is spilling her story about her mother and the disorder she has. Here, Daniel says "Helping a cute girl untangle her sordid family history? Maybe if I do a good enough job you'll think about sticking around." It did not sit well with me as it seemed like he just wanted to get in Cat's pants. I was so infuriated by this book that I just want to scream at the author. This book had so much potential and it was completely wasted. I do not condone improper use and representation of mental health and the extreme flaws in this novel have completely ruined it for me. If I would have known all this before going to a bookstore, I would refuse to pick it up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elyse (ElyseReadsandSpeaks)

    Oof. Not for me. I reread the blurb after I read the book and there are not trigger warnings. There most definitely should be: child loss, sexual abuse, pedophilia, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, child abandonment, suicide. So going into this, I thought this would be a story with some witchy happenings with tarot cards in New Orleans as a family uncovers secrets about each other. In a way, sure, that happened. But it's really not what the book was about at all. This book is about the relationship be Oof. Not for me. I reread the blurb after I read the book and there are not trigger warnings. There most definitely should be: child loss, sexual abuse, pedophilia, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, child abandonment, suicide. So going into this, I thought this would be a story with some witchy happenings with tarot cards in New Orleans as a family uncovers secrets about each other. In a way, sure, that happened. But it's really not what the book was about at all. This book is about the relationship between a mother and daughter after the daughter spends most of her life living with grandma. Grandma has just died as the book starts so mom (who is bipolar) and daughter are going to live together again. While they're living together and trying to build some sort of relationship, daughter finds things out about mom and tries to pinpoint a catalyst for her disorder. That last sentence is what gets me. Full disclosure, I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder before and then it was changed to chronic depression. A change in diagnosis doesn't change the fact that I know how it feels to live with that label. There's no "reason" for it. It just is. And digging into someone's past and uncovering dirt that sent them over the edge probably isn't the best way to reach them. Other than that, I felt like the writing was a bit disjointed and I almost felt played during the book. I signed on for spooky tarot cards in New Orleans and ended up reading about a family dealing with some heavy triggers and some odd mental health rep. I don't know. It was an interesting idea and I didn't hate it, but it definitely wasn't for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    moonleafdruid

    TW: Suicide, alcoholism, death, irresponsible bipolar representation, emotional & sexual abuse

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Salt in Our Blood in exchange for an honest review. I love witchy stories. Case in point, this was the 2nd book I read this month with a tarot card as a cover. Unfortunately, this one felt more like an idea for a story than an actual story. The Salt in Our Blood feels like it was written linearly. That doesn't mean that the plot is necessarily linear since that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rather it felt as though it was written scene by s Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Salt in Our Blood in exchange for an honest review. I love witchy stories. Case in point, this was the 2nd book I read this month with a tarot card as a cover. Unfortunately, this one felt more like an idea for a story than an actual story. The Salt in Our Blood feels like it was written linearly. That doesn't mean that the plot is necessarily linear since that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rather it felt as though it was written scene by scene with no real integration which is a shame because a lot of this focuses around a central mystery and interweaving clues is the most important part of a mystery. It basically follows: a character does a thing, discovers something they didn't know before that the plot never hinted to, plot catches us up with all the clues we never saw, but the character did, repeat cycle. The MC's absentee Mum is also bipolar and the depiction of it is definitely negative, but whether that's a realistic depiction of the struggles of living with bipolar disorder or a harmfully inaccurate version of it is something I can't really comment on since I don't have any experience with bipolar disorder. I know I'm being negative, but this wasn't necessarily bad, I guess it just could have been a lot better if it went through another draft or 2 to tie everything together better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    D Gillis

    I received The Salt in Our Blood this week and I wasted no time in binge reading it! New Orleans is one of my favorite cities (okay, I haven’t actually been there but I love it) and Ava Morgyn did a great job of creating a sense of place. There’s magic throughout the book and imagery drawn from Cat’s tarot deck. The dark family history had me hooked, wanting to discover what had driven and shaped Cat’s mother. I want to visit Fortune’s Gate, the most amazing (fictional) magic shop ever! Highly r I received The Salt in Our Blood this week and I wasted no time in binge reading it! New Orleans is one of my favorite cities (okay, I haven’t actually been there but I love it) and Ava Morgyn did a great job of creating a sense of place. There’s magic throughout the book and imagery drawn from Cat’s tarot deck. The dark family history had me hooked, wanting to discover what had driven and shaped Cat’s mother. I want to visit Fortune’s Gate, the most amazing (fictional) magic shop ever! Highly recommended! Thank you to Ava Morgyn and Albert Whitman & Company for sending me this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Al

    After her grandmother's sudden death, Cat finds herself having to reach out to her estranged mother, who takes Cat to live with her in New Orleans. While staying with her mother, Cat learns of a dark family history that her beloved grandmother kept hidden from her, involving a sibling she never knew existed, and if she is to learn the truth and heal the relationship between her and her estranged mother, she would have to face her fears and let her guard down. I want to start off by saying I love After her grandmother's sudden death, Cat finds herself having to reach out to her estranged mother, who takes Cat to live with her in New Orleans. While staying with her mother, Cat learns of a dark family history that her beloved grandmother kept hidden from her, involving a sibling she never knew existed, and if she is to learn the truth and heal the relationship between her and her estranged mother, she would have to face her fears and let her guard down. I want to start off by saying I love the cover. It's very mystical and caught my attention right away. I also liked the writing style. It was engaging, and even when the story wavered at times, I found myself still reading on due to the enigmatic and persuasive nature of the narration. Good characterisation throughout, but I felt the story lacked in plot development in certain parts. There were topics mentioned that wasn't fully explored, characters introduced that weren't utilised to a full degree, which had these elements been fully employed, would have added more depth to the story. The story idea was one of intrigue, however, the execution of the story and the way certain parts unfolded wasn't as satisfactory as I would have liked. Still, I enjoyed reading the book. Cat was an interesting character, as was Mary, whose backstory was very fascinating and traumatising. The portrayal of Mary's bipolar disorder was hard to swallow at times and might not be well received by some readers for the fact that it appears the problem stems from Mary's bipolar and not the negligence of her receiving proper treatment for her condition. In other words, it may appear to some that the problem with Mary is that she is bipolar, which I don't believe was the intention. I didn't find Daniel engaging nor was I fully convinced there was actually chemistry between him and Cat. I wanted to swoon over him, but it just never happened. I wasn't charmed, I'm afraid. This was a good story with a lot of potential. Read more reviews on CBY. Follow CBY: Twitter ¦ Facebook ¦ Tumblr ¦ Pinterest ¦ Instagram ¦ Bloglovin

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    TW: mental illness (bipolar disorder, depression, mania), suicide attempt, miscarriage/stillbirth, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, alcoholism, emotional abuse, manipulation, toxic relationships, death, grief. In addition to the aforementioned warning, I would just like to reiterate that this novel could be particularly triggering to any with mental illness or a history of emotional or sexual abuse, rape, or miscarriage. That being said, I still adored The Salt In Our Blood by Ava Morgyn. Morgyn's w TW: mental illness (bipolar disorder, depression, mania), suicide attempt, miscarriage/stillbirth, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, alcoholism, emotional abuse, manipulation, toxic relationships, death, grief. In addition to the aforementioned warning, I would just like to reiterate that this novel could be particularly triggering to any with mental illness or a history of emotional or sexual abuse, rape, or miscarriage. That being said, I still adored The Salt In Our Blood by Ava Morgyn. Morgyn's writing is simultaneously gritty and lyrical, emotional and pragmatic, magical and mysterious. This particular story is almost entirely character-based. While there are some very tense moments of action, the story revolves around the MC's personal journey of discovery. Thrust into the very moment she discovers her grandmother dead, we follow Cat as she is forced to confront her mother and the dark past that binds them. I have no experience with bipolar disorder, so my knowledge remains limited, but I imagine the ups and downs of this story are meant to mimic the highs and lows associated with it. I found myself fluctuating between tense anxiety and calm understanding with every turn of the page. As Cat struggles to get her bearings in her new normal, she is plagued by characters that are oddly reminiscent of the tarot deck her mother gave her. I thought the tarot characters were a unique twist, but ultimately served little purpose in furthering the plot. However, it does provide just enough mysticism that we start to question the reliability of our MC, her own self-doubt reflecting the sentiment.  I enjoyed the way Cat's journey slowly unraveled the mystery that is her family history. Each piece of the puzzle proved that people are not always who we think they are. My biggest takeaway from this book is to remember that each of us are fighting different battles and you never know what someone else is going though. If you're looking for a book to tug on your heartstrings and take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, I recommend taking a chance on The Salt In Our Blood. Thank you to Ava Morgyn, Albert Whitman & Co, and NetGalley for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Find this and other reviews like it on www.myheartisbooked.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight What we have here is a situation where I have a bit of The Mixed Feelings™. At the start of the book, I wholly felt for Cat. She's found her grandmother, who basically raised her, dead. As if that isn't bad enough, she now has to live with her mostly absent mom, which certainly can't be easy. So yeah, I was definitely sympathetic. But then some things rubbed me the wrong way, so we're ju You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight What we have here is a situation where I have a bit of The Mixed Feelings™. At the start of the book, I wholly felt for Cat. She's found her grandmother, who basically raised her, dead. As if that isn't bad enough, she now has to live with her mostly absent mom, which certainly can't be easy. So yeah, I was definitely sympathetic. But then some things rubbed me the wrong way, so we're just going to have to break it all down. What I Liked: ►Like I said, I was very drawn to Cat and her story initially. Like, she seems so lonely, even before Moony (her name for her grandma) dies. Not a lot of friends who'll even know or care that she's gone, and now she's got to go to a new city with a mother who's practically a stranger. It is a lot, and I couldn't help but feel for her! ►New Orleans! I love that city so much. And I think the author did a good job of getting the vibe of the city. I loved the setting, especially since there was a tarot card story, and a bit of ghost lore and such. ►I adored Daniel and his family. Frankly, I could use a book about those guys! ►I was definitely invested in the stories of both Cat and her mom. Frankly, I may have been more invested in Mary's story than Cat's,  but they were pretty intertwined anyway of course. What I Didn't: ►The way Cat talked about her mom's bipolar disorder was... messy, at best. This is really my biggest issue (by far) with the book. Look, I get that Cat is a kid and likely has all kinds of misconceptions about both her mother and living with bipolar disorder.  But she never truly gets to a point where she learns more about said misconceptions, hence my feelings. Like- had this been used as a learning experience, I'd have been completely on board. But that doesn't really happen. I suppose to some extent Cat does learn some aspects of it- that you don't "catch" bipolar from a troubling life event, and is a bit more understanding, but not enough for me tbh. Cat treats her mom pretty horribly, and keeps nosing into her early life to find "reasons" that Mary is dealing with bipolar. That... isn't how that works. She also sees Mary as some kind of irrevocably broken human being just because she happens to have a mental illness. Cat then unleashes a ton of Mary's past trauma on Mary. I get wanting to know what is up with things you may uncover about a parent's past, but Cat doesn't handle it particularly sensitively. Bottom Line: A good story that pulled at my heartstrings, and while I think the author had the right intentions, I believe that the representation of Mary's bipolar disorder/past trauma could have been handled a bit better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    The summer before her senior year, Catia discovers that her grandmother Moony, who has been raising her, has died in her sleep. With nowhere else to turn, Cat reluctantly reaches out to her estranged mother, Mary, who brings her daughter back to her apartment in New Orleans. Her mother has been grappling with bipolar disorder for years, with extreme highs and lows that made parenting Cat impossible. A mixture of gritty realism and fantasy are intertwined unevenly as Cat moves between solving the The summer before her senior year, Catia discovers that her grandmother Moony, who has been raising her, has died in her sleep. With nowhere else to turn, Cat reluctantly reaches out to her estranged mother, Mary, who brings her daughter back to her apartment in New Orleans. Her mother has been grappling with bipolar disorder for years, with extreme highs and lows that made parenting Cat impossible. A mixture of gritty realism and fantasy are intertwined unevenly as Cat moves between solving the mystery of her mother’s past and interacting with other-worldly beings. Cat begins a healthy romance with a multi-racial young man who proves to be a good balance to her dysfunctional family dynamic. Tarot cards, mysticism, and religion tie in together as Cat unearths a secret from Mary’s past that explains some of her behaviors and sets Cat on her own path of discovery. Morgyn creates an atmospheric narrative that tackles some facets of mental illness and how some youths end up taking a parental role in their relationship with a mother or father. An author’s note explains Morgyn’s connection with Mary’s secret and includes the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Verdict: This magical realism story would be a good addition to larger collections and might prove welcome to those who do not have traditional households. I reviewed this book for the School Library Journal magazine and the review can be found here: https://www.slj.com/?reviewDetail=the...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Geneviève (thefreckledbookworm)

    Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book through the author, in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved the author's debut novel, RESURRECTION GIRLS which is why I didn't hesitate to accept this ARC. However, the first thing that hits me after finishing this book is : I REALLY would've appreciated a TW somewhere. It could've been included in the synopsis, at the beginning of the book, ANYWHERE really. Because there were a lot and I might've avoided this book at the time being. TW : su Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book through the author, in exchange for an honest review. I absolutely loved the author's debut novel, RESURRECTION GIRLS which is why I didn't hesitate to accept this ARC. However, the first thing that hits me after finishing this book is : I REALLY would've appreciated a TW somewhere. It could've been included in the synopsis, at the beginning of the book, ANYWHERE really. Because there were a lot and I might've avoided this book at the time being. TW : suicide, child loss, substance/alcohol abuse, overdose, suicide, emotional and sexual abuse The original idea behind this book is a great one : paranormal fantasy set in New Orleans, with tarot decks (reminiscent of the Caraval books, maybe? 😍), potential witchy powers, etc. What's not to love? But even though this world had a great potential, it wasn't integrated or exploited at all. I often felt like every chapter was written individually, without any transition between them. Which often left me feeling confused, thinking I had misread the previous pages. The characters felt flat to me, and I didn't really believe in the romantic development. Especially with the lack of fluidity between the chapters, the one sex scene just felt slapped on and out of place (hey, you know how I usually love myself some [lots of] smuttiness😅) Now, for the mental health depiction. I'm so tired of reading books with such negative representations of bipolar disorder. As though these people can never truly lead what is considered a "normal" life because of their mental illness. Or that it's their fault for not reaching out to the appropriate help, sticking to treatment, etc. Anyways, I didn't feel like this representation was accurate at all RATING : I feel like 1⭐ is too harsh, especially since the author really does have a great writing style and unique ideas. So I'll settle for 2⭐

  12. 5 out of 5

    Virginia McGee Butler

    Ava Morgyn begins her debut novel with abundant problems for seventeen-year-old Cat when her adored grandmother dies. Ten years before, her unstable mother had dumped Cat off with the grandmother with nothing but a deck of tarot cards – minus one. Now, her mother returns, taking only enough time to determine that the college fund Cat’s grandmother had promised her does not exist and to put the house on the market before she heads to New Orleans with Cat in tow. In New Orleans, Cat must become th Ava Morgyn begins her debut novel with abundant problems for seventeen-year-old Cat when her adored grandmother dies. Ten years before, her unstable mother had dumped Cat off with the grandmother with nothing but a deck of tarot cards – minus one. Now, her mother returns, taking only enough time to determine that the college fund Cat’s grandmother had promised her does not exist and to put the house on the market before she heads to New Orleans with Cat in tow. In New Orleans, Cat must become the mature one in the relationship as she tries to sort out the real and the unreal with her mother’s bipolar disorder and the eccentricity of the city itself. Dark family history shows up first in a picture she discovers of her mother with a baby that is not her and then in a newspaper clipping from generations past. Strange characters haunt her dreams and reappear in the daytime until she begins to wonder if the family heritage of madness has become her own. Answers seem to lie in finding the missing tarot card. Her friend Daniel contributes a stable influence and helps her look for the card and sort out relationships as Cat learns her beloved grandmother wasn’t all that she seemed. Normally, magical realism isn’t my first choice for settling down with a good book, but I make an exception for this one. I had to check if I remembered correctly that it was listed as young adult fare. I would label it as crossover as a good read for both adults and teens. My one word of advice is that if you begin the book, dusting and dirty dishes will need to wait until you are finished. If dinner must be cooked, just stir the pot with one hand and hold the book with the other.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennia

    Filled with vivid imagery, The Salt in Our Blood by Ava Morgyn is as much a character study as it is a story about magic and family. Cat grew up with her grandmother, Moody, who has recently passed, leaving her in the care of Mary, the mother who abandoned her. Uprooted from everything she’s ever known, Cat move with Mary to New Orleans where she almost immediately begins to cross paths with some unusual individuals, all of whom seem to be offering her some sort of hazy guidance. The beautifully Filled with vivid imagery, The Salt in Our Blood by Ava Morgyn is as much a character study as it is a story about magic and family. Cat grew up with her grandmother, Moody, who has recently passed, leaving her in the care of Mary, the mother who abandoned her. Uprooted from everything she’s ever known, Cat move with Mary to New Orleans where she almost immediately begins to cross paths with some unusual individuals, all of whom seem to be offering her some sort of hazy guidance. The beautifully spun magical realism is underscored with the grit of real life and the various effects our mental health can have on those around us. As Cat digs into her mother’s history, she uncovers secret after secret while further enmeshing herself in a part of the world that isn’t always visible. With the help of her new friend Daniel, Cat picks apart the layers that have shaped her mother, learning our perceptions of someone rarely match the reality. Ava Morgyn knows how to craft unique and delectable stories. Her characters are every shade of gray, as nuanced and three dimensional as anyone you’ll meet in real life. The more difficult topics are depicted with delicate honesty and treated as an integral and necessary part of the story, not as plot points added for shock value. She captures the raw emotions so often felt during a time of crisis, and it’s impossible to not feel your heart hurting for both Cat and Mary. Five stars to this touching story and my thanks to the author for the complimentary copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Tournas

    This is an affecting novel that mingles themes of grief, mental illness and mother/daughter relationships. Seventeen year old Cat has lived with Moony, her grandmother, for ten years, ever since Mary, her mother, abandoned her. When Moony dies, Mary takes her to New Orleans to live together in a small apartment in the Quartier. Cat is reeling – so much is unknown about her mother’s past, and what she does know – that her mother is bi-polar, that living with her is a roller coaster – is hard to This is an affecting novel that mingles themes of grief, mental illness and mother/daughter relationships. Seventeen year old Cat has lived with Moony, her grandmother, for ten years, ever since Mary, her mother, abandoned her. When Moony dies, Mary takes her to New Orleans to live together in a small apartment in the Quartier. Cat is reeling – so much is unknown about her mother’s past, and what she does know – that her mother is bi-polar, that living with her is a roller coaster – is hard to take. Cat’s dreams, where characters from her tarot deck figure prominently, now seem to be echoed in real life. Are these supernatural events, such as a street magician causing coins to rain down on her from the sky, an effect of New Orleans? Is she becoming mentally ill like her mother? How can she find out the true history of her mother and her grandmother? Talking to her mother is out of the question, so that ups the suspense. A cute boy named Daniel is her only respite from the searching and grief. Despite the atmospheric setting of New Orleans and the magic realist dreaminess of her experience there, this novel is deeply introspective. Tarot and family history are intertwined beautifully. Coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness is a major theme, and a note at the end about suicide shows that the author takes it seriously. I like the cover art, a riff on a tarot card, but it makes the book seem appropriate for younger audiences, which it is not.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews

    CW: sexual abuse (mentioned), child death (mentioned), child abuse (mentioned), attempted suicide While I definitely enjoyed this book, I felt like the story was hindered by the fact that it was a standalone. I think it would have been a lot better if it was stretched into two books as a duology. It would give more time for moments of rest and would allow the book to explore the various aspects of its mythology. As it is, the story felt rushed and I couldn't get fully immersed in the fantasy aspe CW: sexual abuse (mentioned), child death (mentioned), child abuse (mentioned), attempted suicide While I definitely enjoyed this book, I felt like the story was hindered by the fact that it was a standalone. I think it would have been a lot better if it was stretched into two books as a duology. It would give more time for moments of rest and would allow the book to explore the various aspects of its mythology. As it is, the story felt rushed and I couldn't get fully immersed in the fantasy aspects because I didn't understand them. I want to know more about the tarot characters in this world and why they were tied to Cat. And while we get the gist of Cat's mom's story, it hits hard enough that it feels like it needs more room to breathe. I would have really liked to have had this book dive deeply into the magical aspects and touch on the mom, and then have a second book have Cat apply her magical learning to her mom's story. I also felt the ending was a bit rushed and didn't get the care it fully deserved given the tough topic. This isn't to say don't read the book. I did enjoy it, but I also left with questions. Just because it could have been improved doesn't mean it wasn't still done well. I think if you go in knowing not all your questions will be answered, you'll be fine.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn Karkaroff (Balancingbooksandcoffee)

    The Salt in our Blood is about a 17 year old girl named Cat who lives with her Grandmother. When her Grandmother dies, her estranged mother takes her to New Orleans, to live with her in her small apartment. This is a sort of witchy story which is why it intrigued me, because who doesn't love a good witchy story! I found it to be intriguing and mystical, with beautiful imagery. I did find the writing style to be a bit strange as each chapter felt as if it was a wholly new scene. Not a bag thing, j The Salt in our Blood is about a 17 year old girl named Cat who lives with her Grandmother. When her Grandmother dies, her estranged mother takes her to New Orleans, to live with her in her small apartment. This is a sort of witchy story which is why it intrigued me, because who doesn't love a good witchy story! I found it to be intriguing and mystical, with beautiful imagery. I did find the writing style to be a bit strange as each chapter felt as if it was a wholly new scene. Not a bag thing, just not a writing style I am familiar with! I really enjoyed the main character Cat, she develops and grows throughout. There is some abuse in this story, for anyone who may be triggered. Cat's mother also has bipolar disorder, but we find out more about her mother and how she was shaped through her past. Overall the book was a good, promising story! Thank you to Ava Morgyn for sending me a copy for my honest review!

  17. 5 out of 5

    ✨Elianna✨

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book had a great plot, and the setting was stunning, but the characters seemed like you could either love them, hate them, or somehow feel both simultaneously, and the book would have had a lot more impact if there was a bit more of a grey area in between those feelings. One of the things that must have been hard to write about this book is that everyone has a different experi Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book had a great plot, and the setting was stunning, but the characters seemed like you could either love them, hate them, or somehow feel both simultaneously, and the book would have had a lot more impact if there was a bit more of a grey area in between those feelings. One of the things that must have been hard to write about this book is that everyone has a different experience with these conditions and issues that the author included. While I don't have any personal connection with these topics, I think it's good that the author at least attempted to shed some light on the matters mentioned. Overall, this was a good book, but it would have ended more enjoyably if some more of the questions, in the end, could have been answered. I recommend this if you like dark fiction or a mixture of realistic fiction and fantasy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mayah

    I was so, so excited to read this when I requested it! Tarot cards and mysterious happenings in New Orleans? Sounds amazing! Once I started reading I thought it was going to turn out great, because there was some beautiful narration going on. However, as the book went on I felt uninterested in where the plot began to go. Areas I wanted to be explored went unexplored and the main character just couldn't seem to capture my empathy. I have a feeling this is more of me a problem, but I was unable to I was so, so excited to read this when I requested it! Tarot cards and mysterious happenings in New Orleans? Sounds amazing! Once I started reading I thought it was going to turn out great, because there was some beautiful narration going on. However, as the book went on I felt uninterested in where the plot began to go. Areas I wanted to be explored went unexplored and the main character just couldn't seem to capture my empathy. I have a feeling this is more of me a problem, but I was unable to finish reading this. I'm very sad that this wasn't what I was hoping for, but thank you for the opportunity to read it anyway!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina Marie Reads

    Drawing from my own experience with a parent with mental health struggles, I can relate to Cat in a way that is so hard to put into words. All I can do is thank Ava Morgyn for putting the raw and honest perspectives and struggles of Cat and her mother Mary together and beautifully mixing it with a hauntingly magical realism. And the setting of New Orleans is absolutely perfect! Personally, I would recommend this for a very mature YA reader or older due to difficult content.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    I would rate this book 3 stars, it was good but not amazing. It was interesting enough to keep my interest and I loved the New Orleans setting. The cover is beautiful and draws you in, giving the book an overall mysterious and eerie vibe. The main character Cat is determined and complex and and finds herself facing a new kind of life after her grandmother passes. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about mysteries and complicated family dynamics. 3 stars!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michele Taylor

    I really enjoyed reading this! From start to finish I couldn't put it down. I love the whole NOLA supernatural vibe, and the characters were amazing (I want more of Daniel and Mawmaw...spinoff series?) Cat is going THROUGH it, so much happens and is discovered in a short period of time. Love, loss, lies and just life in general for her. I was disappointed in the ending, but that is usually how I feel when I'm really loving the story and don't want it to end. Maybe we can hope for a series! I really enjoyed reading this! From start to finish I couldn't put it down. I love the whole NOLA supernatural vibe, and the characters were amazing (I want more of Daniel and Mawmaw...spinoff series?) Cat is going THROUGH it, so much happens and is discovered in a short period of time. Love, loss, lies and just life in general for her. I was disappointed in the ending, but that is usually how I feel when I'm really loving the story and don't want it to end. Maybe we can hope for a series!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie Hedlund

    This book is wholly original and compulsively readable. The mystery within both the real world and spirit world were drawn evocatively. I do wish the characters had been a bit more developed. They seemed to exist more in service to the plot than the other way around. Still, an enjoyable read. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zainab Cader

    3.5

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charles Davis

    Author’s way of storytelling is so good, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition, you might be their next big star.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Mae

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ava Morgyn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Abby Hargreaves

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dara Yost

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