Genre: YA Historical Fiction
“War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.”
― Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea
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
Sepetys has done it again. She has created a beautiful work of historical fiction that she put so much time and research into and surprised me again with an event in history I was not aware of. The story is based during the era of WWII, but focuses on people and stories that at least in my experience do not get enough attention. She brought to life the struggles of a few different teenagers whose lives intersect that each come from a different background, struggle and each carrying their own secrets.
The story was so well developed and the character development was done in such a way that you create an understanding and love for each of them. I could feel the pain and the setting and atmosphere completely drew me in. I could not put this book down. The style it is written in and the jumping between characters drives the story forward and left me needing more.
Overall I found this to be a hauntingly beautiful story that was heartbreaking at times, but shows such a strong display of hope and kindness. I could gush about this book forever but just think everyone needs to read it. The reason this did not have a 5/5 crowns for me was because I struggled with one of the characters. I found his story to not hold up to the rest of the characters and just found him annoying. He did have a purpose in the story, but I just found him irritating. This book is a perfect choice for anyone who loves Historical Fiction and the WWII era, or just a beautifully written story about the struggles of 4 teens.