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Book Review: "Heart and Salt

by Elaina Battista-Parsons

I love books about girls becoming women. That’s the theme of Elaina Battista-Parson’s forthcoming short story collection, “Heart and Salt.” The book made me appreciate the rich, if sometimes painful, growth that occurs in adolescence. Read my review below or on Goodreads


In Heart and Salt, Elaina Battista-Parsons exults in the intricacies, beauty and pain of not only being human, but being female.

In every short story, I could see and feel the rich inner world of girls and women during those poignant moments of emotional grief that precede those of growth.

The collection is beautifully stitched together by the character of Feather Sierra, a New Jersey high schooler determined to protect herself against previous disappointments in love and relationships by never allowing herself to get too emotionally involved. She cuts herself off, as does the next story’s main character named February. Also in high school, she’s deeply hurt by the recent abandonment of her father. When her mother decides to the two need a fresh start by moving from a New Jersey beach community to a small inland town, February adamantly opposes making new friends, until, that is, she meets Redd, a girl down the street.

The numerous female characters from one story to the next — Katrina, Daphne, Genevieve — wind around one another as they bare their souls. Along the way, the author imbues each narrative with her masterful powers of description, such as, “Feather Sierra was rich in middle-ness the way some people were rich in love or friendships. Middle-ness: a state of always feeling somewhere else, not right here or there, simply situated in the middle, even when you’re in the heart of life with people who love you.”

At times painful, but ultimately joyful, the collection inspires long-forgotten memories and pride in the strength of females who pull together to find their power.


For updates about Martha’s forthcoming books, new and giveaways, subscribe to her website.

Bliss Road, a memoir, June 2023

The Falcon, the Wolf and the Hummingbird, a historical novel, Sept. 19 2023

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