New York Times Bestseller and winner of the Carnegie Medal! "Masterfully crafted"—The Wall Street Journal
For readers of Between Shades of Gray and All the Light We Cannot See, Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.
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 and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson's Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, 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.
Praise for Salt to the Sea:
Featured on NPR's Morning Edition ♦ "Superlative...masterfully crafted...[a] powerful work of historical fiction."—The Wall Street Journal ♦ "[Sepetys is] a master of YA fiction…she once again anchors a panoramic view of epic tragedy in perspectives that feel deeply textured and immediate."—Entertainment Weekly ♦ "Riveting...powerful...haunting."—The Washington Post ♦ "Compelling for both adult and teenage readers."—New York Times Book Review ♦ "Intimate, extraordinary, artfully crafted...brilliant."—Shelf Awareness ♦ "Historical fiction at its very, very best."—The Globe and Mail ♦ "[H]aunting, heartbreaking, hopeful and altogether gorgeous...one of the best young-adult novels to appear in a very long time."—Salt Lake Tribune ♦ *"This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered."—Booklist ♦ *"Artfully told and sensitively crafted...will leave readers weeping."—School Library Journal ♦ A PW and SLJ 2016 Book of the Year
Praise for Between Shades of Gray:
A New York Times Notable Book ♦ A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book ♦ A PW, SLJ, Booklist, and Kirkus Best Book ♦ iTunes 2011 Rewind Best Teen Novel ♦ A Carnegie Medal and William C. Morris Finalist ♦ A New York Times and International Bestseller ♦ "Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both."—The Washington Post ♦ *"[A]n important book that deserves the widest possible readership."—Booklist
Set in East Prussia during the brutal winter of 1945, these stories of four very different teenagers three refugees escaping their disparate war-torn homelands, and a Nazi sailor obsessed with Hitler Intertwine when they all end up on the doomed ship Wilhelm Gustloff. The four narrators (Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, and Michael Crouch) are superbly cast, each taking on the role of a main character with a distinctive voice that perfectly matches his or her role: the young, vulnerable voice of Emilia, a sweet Polish 16-year-old who has suffered too much tragedy and emotional trauma; the warm, caring tones of Joana, a Latvian nurse, who is nurturing and perceptive; the deep, guarded voice of Florian, a mysterious Prussian hiding a secret; and most memorable of all, the high, thin, nasal voice of the Nazi sailor Alfred, dripping with smug arrogance and self-righteousness. The story's plot and pacing translate beautifully to the audio medium; the intimate interior monologues reveal character development while fast-paced, gripping action scenes of danger and narrow escapes create a sense of suspense. The result is a riveting audiobook that will have listeners on the edge of their seats while also educating them about a little-known but tragic chapter of WWII history. Ages 12 up. A Philomel hardcover.
As a current Soldier in the Army, I am blown away that I had never heard of this historical event. Aside from that, it is very rare that I connect with characters in such a deep way that I am genuinely saddened and, in this case, brought to tears by the outcome. This is, in my opinion, the best book I've ever read.
This is a story of love, difference, belonging, hope, forgiveness, and recognition of all of those aforementioned things that make us uniquely human.
The characters in this story pull you in and you quickly feel as though you have known them and perhaps even been friends with them for a lifetime.
If you need a story that makes you remember or believe in the power of story telling, this is it.
Salt to the Sea
I loved this unique book. It will be in my mind for a long time, I hope.