Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publication Date: February 4th 2016
~An (unsolicited) copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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 the kind of book that sneaks up on you. Going in, I honestly don't know what I was expecting, as it says in the back, the story, the ship, is not a tragedy a lot of people know, I sure didn't. It may have taken me a while to get into Salt to the Sea, but once I did, and the inevitable happened, it snuck up on me how much I actually cared about the story, the characters, what it represents and what happened.
I think the reason why it took me so long to get into Salt to the Sea is because of the perspectives, and how short the chapters are, we just start getting to know a character before it switches again in between, Joana, a Lithuanian, Florian, the Prussian, Emilia, the Polish, and Alfred, the German sociopath that reinforces Hitler’s ideology. But what I did love about the chapters, was how it held the suspense, we slowly get threads of their lives and secrets until they're sewn together.
The characters, eventually (minus the sociopath) get easier to connect to, to feel for the characters and real lives that are lost to the sea in a bigger tragedy than Titanic, and honestly, I didn't know how invested I was until the end.
Salt to the Sea is a mixture of desperation and fear, a desperation and fear that nobody should have to go through or witness.