Title: Salt & Stone
Author: Victoria Scott
Time taken to read: 3 days
Goodreads synopsis: In FIRE & FLOOD, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can’t stop – and in SALT & STONE, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and twisted new rules in the race. But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone’s keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you’d relied on most suddenly isn’t there for support? How do you weigh one life against another? The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were one hundred twenty-two Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left . . . and only one can win.
First of all, hello my readers. I haven’t posted a review in a while because I’ve been reading like four books at the same time, and I’ve been working on moving out of my apartment so I haven’t had a lot of time to read. However, I finally picked up Salt & Stone from the library on Wednesday and I absolutely tore through it, just like I did with Fire & Flood. Last night I kept saying to myself, “Just one more chapter and then I’ll go to bed,” but each chapter left me more and more desperate to get to the ending. Victoria Scott wrote on Goodreads that she “believe[s] in continually raising stakes, testing characters, and strengthening relationships,” and that’s exactly what she did throughout this entire novel. She really allowed us to watch these characters learn about themselves and each other and humanity in general, and it was an amazing journey.
I still love Tella, Harper, and Olivia so much. Guy is 5000% annoying and a great example of why I don’t talk to men if I can avoid it. All the deaths in this book absolutely wrecked me. (Actually…I didn’t care for Willow that much. She was a giant brat.) Especially because the causes of death were straight out of my worst nightmares. I hate sharks so much, I won’t go in the ocean. Because things like that happen. (They don’t really, but like…they could.) I thought it was weird that no one else in the book thought it was weird that there was a guy named Cotton. That’s not even like a cool hipster name like Willow. It’s just weird.
As for the ending, I am completely losing my mind because we do not get very many answers. I love writing like that, with crazy cliffhangers that there are no answers to, because it definitely makes your readers feel something, and then they get to sort of decide what happens for themselves. I’ve decided what happens in my version of Tella’s life post-Brimstone Bleed, but maybe Victoria Scott will write another book and it’ll be completely different. But honestly, I believe that her answers are no more true than mine, because that’s how fiction works, and that’s why I love it so much.
By the way, I had my final interview with Random House on Thursday, and my interviewer said she loved my enthusiasm!! I think she’ll find that few people are more enthusiastic about YA than I am. Although I fear that “I love your enthusiasm” actually means “You are completely crazy and you need like seven chill pills.” Which is not wrong.