Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA Historical
Synopsis from Goodreads:
“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.”
As soon as I saw that Ruta Sepetys was releasing Salt to the Sea, I knew I had to read it. I loved Between Shades of Gray and couldn’t wait to get my hands on another one of her books. This book didn’t disappoint.
I loved three of the four main characters, as well as most of the side characters. I can’t say I liked Alfred much and didn’t feel that he really contributed to the story in a meaningful way. I was rooting for the rest of them to get to safety and was hopeful that there would be a happy ending for them all. I won’t spoil the ending (or any part of the book) by giving my opinion on how that worked out.
The story itself was very interesting, set during the end of the Nazi regime, right around the time that Germans were finally authorized to evacuate. It’s a World War II story, but not an obvious or overdone one. I really enjoyed this and read it in one day. It’s a young adult novel, so there’s nothing too challenging reading-wise, though the story itself is worthy of any adult novel. I gave this four stars (I docked a star for Alfred — I just didn’t care about him at all!) and definitely recommend reading it, as well as Sepetys’s earlier book, Between Shades of Gray.