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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Monday, November 16, 2015

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.

Goodreads Summary

This was one of the most thought-provoking books that I have ever read.  I spent an entire night reading this book instead of studying!  Told from multiple perspectives that I don't know how the author pulled off-it must be very difficult to write from the perspective of a budding psychopath to a young Polish girl with a brutal past-this book is eloquent, descriptive, and will make the reader physically feel for the characters. Joana, Emilia, and Florian are all amazingly distinct characters; I was not so fond of the other perspective, but I must admit that it was valuable to the book.  

Joana acted a nurse during the Holocaust and came off as very compassionate and, in some sense, motherly.  She cared for the little Polish girl with a shocking secret and a glaring health problem, Emilia, as well as the blind girl in the rag-tag group.  Emilia was probably the strongest character of the four perspectives as far as I'm concerned.  She went through the most and suffered the most amongst the four perspectives telling the story as an "un-desirable" Polish girl during the Holocaust. She suffered horrible atrocities as spoils of the war.  The author highlights that Poland was torn apart by two warring countries-Poland and Russia.  Florian brought the thrust and verve two the main characters.  He was a man on a mission throughout the book and the reader won't guess the mission until he decides to spill his secret.  The scenes in the book are vivid and the plot is fast-paced.  I literally couldn't put this book down; teens and adult readers should snatch this book up.

5 Stars

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  1. I love Holocaust stories and this author is awesome! Adding this to my wishlist!

  1. I love this author, so I am more than willing to read this one. Hopefully I will love it as much as you do. And as much as I love the cover!