Friday, January 15, 2016

Early Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
Read: December 20 - 23, 2015
February 2, 2016 by Philomel Books
Source: Penguin (THANK YOU!)
Category: YA, historical fiction, WWII, 

Book Description: The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
"How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky."

Salt to the Sea was beautiful and heartbreaking. 
It's one of those books that is so lovely, and poignant and powerful, and I want everyone to read it. But I don't want to over talk about it and ruin the magic of the story, so I end up saying less than I probably should.

I love the way Ruta Sepetys carefully and powerfully gives a voice to little known history, and how she infuses them with strength and hope, despite the heavy subject matter. Without her words I would not have known anything about the Wilhelm Gustloff, or the events surrounding this story. 

One of my most favorite aspects of Salt to the Sea is how it is told in short chapters by four characters from different countries, ethnic backgrounds and experiences, whose lives collide because of the horrors of war. The chapters that quickly switch between each narrator, speed up the pacing and increase the tension leading up to the end of the book. 

Anyone who's ever read about or seen anything about the Titanicknows what happens when a boat sinks, and though the details surrounding the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff are a huge and horrible part of this story, what makes this book stand out is that the focus remains on these characters and their personal and inter-relational experiences and how their lives are affected by war and then this one catastrophic event. 

I don't have anything negative to say. This book is highly recommended.

Love Triangle Factor: None. This book has a sweet romance as part of it.
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. I can't say this one was on my radar at first, but you've definitely interested me with your review, Lauren.
    I especially love that it's based off on a real life historical event that's not much discussed. And while I'm not usually one for multiple POVs, I'm excited about the prospect of characters from different backgrounds. Plus, you know I'm always up for a sweet romance. :) (I hope it ends well though?)
    Lovely review, Lauren!

  2. Eeee :D Awesome review Lauren. <3 So glad you loved this one. But damn. Now you have made me want to read it.. ahhh. Sweet romance too? Oh. I want this book. I shall look into it :) Thank you for sharing your amazing thoughts about it sweet girl. <3

  3. I feel the same way about this book! It's heartbreaking, yet beautiful. Very memorable. Definitely one everyone should read.

  4. Thanks for sharing this historical book. This is really heart touching review. I loved to read this article very much. Protected at sea


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