Friday, December 16, 2016

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Star Rating : 5 out of 5

Content Rating : HIGH
Back Cover :
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.”

My Thoughts :
Salt to the Sea won Goodreads young adult book of the year for 2016, and now I know why. I found this book while browsing the winners for the year, and I am so happy I did. This book was so amazing and sad and brought to life a tragedy that I had never even heard about. It took everything in me not to burst out in tears near the end. I loved this book and you should READ IT!
Like most everyone in the American school system, World War II was a subject that I am pretty well versed in. I have watched many documentaries and read many first-hand accounts to count; but, most of them were from the point of view of people in concentration camps. While those stories are ones that desperately need to be told, I was glad to see a novel that had a different focus. It tells the story of people who were displaced from their homes and had to fight both Stalin’s and Hitler’s war.
I rated it HIGH because, while it is classified as young adult, there are scenes of violence and death. There is also subject matter that is more adult in content. I would suggest it for those 15+ years old. That being said, I believe this is an important read.

What I liked :
  • The Point of View (POV) :  There are 4 main characters in the book, each with their own POV. I was very happy to see where all of their stories collided. I thought it was very well written and well thought out.
  • The Characters : All of the characters, not just the main 4, were very well fleshed out. I thought I knew each character as well as I was supposed to know them, and I didn’t feel like any character was lacking any back story.
  • The Subject Matter: This book mainly deals with refugees fleeing the Russian occupation of Europe and each character’s journey to get aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff to find passage to safety. I love that the author decided to bring to light a lesser known tragedy.
  • The Writing: Sepetys’ writing is amazing. I love how she carefully constructs and reveals secrets of each character throughout the book. She also uses parallelism with each POV at some points in the book. For example, at the beginning of each characters’ first chapter, there is an emotion and that emotion is called a hunter. “Guilt is a hunter…Fear is a hunter…Fate is a hunter…Shame is a hunter.” It’s beautiful.

What I didn’t like :
  • NOTHING! There is honestly nothing I can complain about. Loved this book.

 What Others Are Saying :
"Ruta Sepetys is a master of historical fiction. In Salt to the Sea the hard truths of her herculean research are tempered with effortless, intimate storytelling, as her warm and human characters breathe new life into one of the world's most terrible and neglected tragedies." --Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Printz Award Honor Book Code Name Verity

“A rich, page-turning story that brings to vivid life a terrifying—and little-known—moment in World War II history.” --Steve Sheinkin, author of Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist Bomb

"Brutal. Beautiful. Honest." --Sabaa Tahir, New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes
Reviewed by Lydia Jones

Pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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