Posted in Uncategorized, Young Adult Lit

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys

25614492Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys
2016 by Philomel Books
ISBN – 9780399160301
Genre – Historical Fiction
Age – High School
4.5 Stars

Nearing the end of World War II, thousands of refugees gather to flee East Prussia. An unlikely group meets on the way and decides to continue their travels together. A young girl who was raped by Russian soldiers, and is at full term pregnancy, a German Soldier gone AWOL, young nurse, a young boy, and a shoe peddler are among them. As they struggle to make it to the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship traveling across the Baltic Sea towards Kiel, they learn to trust one another, and draw strength from each other. They learn that their strength comes from the group not the individual. As more than one tragedy strikes, they fight for each other, as much as for themselves.

This book will break your heart more than once, put it back together, and then smash it to pieces again. It is a beautifully written historical fiction novel that addresses an event that many people have never heard about. Sepetys builds characters and relationships masterfully. She expresses feelings and emotions deeper than most any young adult novels. She shows us that love can be beyond physical attraction and lust, but sometimes that’s included. She paints her story with emotions that somehow seem to go beyond the words that she writes. Its as if I am there, feeling all the feelings. The story behind the book is one of the most tragic of WWII, and she describes it with sensitivity and seeming accuracy (I am not an expert on the subject.) This is my new favorite by this author, and if you have read her other books, you will know that this means a lot. Also, if you haven’t read her books, you should.

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