Thursday, 17 March 2016

Salt to the Sea By Ruta Sepetys

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.

Salt to the Sea is heartbreaking. Totally, utterly heartbreaking. But it also fills you with hope. 
At points you will hate humans and what they can do, but at others you'll be reminded of the hopeful wonders strangers can do for each other. 

Salt to the Sea is most definitely Ruta's best novel so far. Her characters felt so real and fleshed out and her writing style is unique and a joy to read. Each character was so individual, each had their own secrets, their own problems and even though you didn't necessarily like them all, you wanted to find out what happened to them. 

Salt to the Sea is so well researched, you learn so much about the times from the book. But the book doesn't feel dense with history facts. Each chapter is usually only a page or so long which causes you to read 'just one more chapter' and boom, you find yourself at the end of the book. 

I did find the beginning a little off-putting because the book has four different points of view and Ruta's chapters are very small. This caused the story to flip quickly from character to character which caused some slight confusion in keeping track and getting to know the characters. But after a few chapters, once you know the characters you completely fall into the story. 

I enjoy books that make me cry, because I know that that story will stay with me forever. I even got choked up talking about it to my dad. I'm so grateful to Ruta for educating me about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, something that I probably never would've heard of without her, but is something the whole world should know about. 
Books like Salt to the Sea and The Book Thief are so hard-hitting because even though you know the characters aren't real people, the characters represent all those people who experienced these times, experienced WWII and what happens to those characters is very much similar to what real people would've gone through. 

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