Review for Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys!

Quick View Review

Overall Rating: ***** (5/5)

Amazon Rating: **** (4.6/5)

One Sentence Review: A beautiful book that should be read and cherished by everyone, especially if you are interested in the untold stories of history that bring a mix of tears and love amidst a tragedy that will live in your heart long after you finish reading.

Full Review

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many 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 to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours. (Summary by Amazon)

My favorite book of all time is Ruta Sepetys’s other novel, Between Shades of Gray, and has been for the past four years since I first stumbled upon it. I have reread it roughly seven times, and I plan to reread it again soon. I put off reading Salt to the Sea to complete my summer reading for school (and I was possibly scared that it would disappoint; after all, it has strong ties with Between Shades of Gray, so if you read one--the order doesn’t matter--you will want to read the other), and just managed to squeeze in the time to read it this past weekend. I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as good as Between Shades of Gray, but wow, did this story surprise me (that’s completely an understatement, I just don’t have words to describe how this story has affected me). I was moved by their stories, and immediately fell in love with Joana, Florian, Emilia, The Shoe Poet, and Klaus. Just thinking about the book brings tears to my eyes (it is heart-wrenching, but so beautiful that you shouldn’t let that deter you from reading Salt to the Sea this instant). The plot flows at a rapid, attention-capturing pace that magically reveals the character’s pasts, secrets, and hopes, as well as the millions of lives lost because of war, which people disgustingly try to cover up and forget because of how painfully ugly it makes the human race’s past seem. Even as tragedy falls around these characters, Sepetys manages to ignite the spark of love and romance that subtly completes the story in an unexpected way. If you haven’t read this wonderfully enlightening and moving story, then do so as soon as possible! I am already looking forward to rereading this story a few more times in the future.

Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!

Happy reading!




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