Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
No of Pages: Hardcover, 391 pages
Synopsis and Review:
Salt of the Sea is Ruta Sepetys’ latest young adult historical fiction. Based on the real event of the sinkage of Wilhelm Gustloff during World War II, it focuses on four characters who find themselves wrapped in this tragedy that has not been reported in the media but is no less horrifying. This novel follows four teenagers as they venture across the lands trying to land themselves into the cruise ship, thinking that they would be safe.
Having never really studied World History, I do not know every single detail in World War II. However, I can guarantee you that even those who have taken AP World History would not know much about the tragedy of Wilhelm Gustloff. Using this as the setting is so clever and obviously well thought out beforehand. By basing her story on this event, Ruta Sepetys successfully made sure that it is refreshing for readers while keeping readers in the loop regarding the basic background details.
In terms of the characters, I really enjoy that Ruta Sepetys chose four characters who cannot have a more divergent background. While they are all teenagers, their differing nationalities and ethnicities certainly make up for the lack of age-diversity. As World War II, or rather, all wars, happened because of conflicts between different groups of people. Her mix of characters is a perfect combination to evoke emotions in readers as she shows that in the times of war, there is no clear cut line between good and evil.
Salt to the Sea certainly won’t be this hard-hitting if not for the incredible amount of research done beforehand. Watch Ruta’s video on her heart-warming journey to writing this book here. I haven’t read Ruta Sepatis’ other bestseller, Between Shades of Gray, yet but I certainly intend to do so in the near future. Historical fictions based on lesser known real events cannot be more appealing.
Disclaimer: Review copy provided by Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for honest review. All opinions are my own.