Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
Hardcover: 393 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope. (goodreads)
To start, I enjoyed the book. Lets just get that out of the way. The author wrote a very intriguing story that made me want to keep reading. I loved that the chapters were short enough that skipping through the heads of four different characters wasn’t too much.
The downside to four different points of view was that they weren’t different enough for me to tell who was talking just by the words that were said. A lot of times authors expend ample effort in trying to give voice to each character. This author did not do that in my opinion. So if you read the book at a slower pace then it’s hard to get into the characters heads, its hard to care about each character because you don’t know them intimately.
However, I finally started reading the book in larger chunks and it started to matter less that the POV’s all sounded the same. The story flowed well together and jumping from one POV to the next felt more seamless.
One character, Alfred, is INSANE. His chapters bordered creepy. And as the end neared, his chapters definitely became creepy.
I even grew to love Joana, Florian, and Emilie. I miss them a bit now that the book is over.
So, would I recommend the book? Definitley! A YA WWII book with a small love story, and many other relationships? Yes, read the book. Also, I’ve read books from the concentration camp side of things, the Austrian refugee side of things, polish side of things, and now this… the Baltic Sea side of things.
The book left me thinking, war is awful. It does awful things. It causes people to do awful things. And so much death. It’s so sad. 9000+ people lost their lives within 60 minutes of this ship being torpedoed. And because Germany didn’t want to report the attack, the world didn’t hear about it until much later. So sad.
Some of my friends cried during this book. I didn’t. But the fact remains, it is a tragedy.
Check out my Teaser Tuesday with teasers from this book.