Ruta Sepetys
Salt to the Sea

Puffin (13+)

9780141347400 (paperback)

It's early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Sepetys brilliantly imagines their story

Mood is perfectly handled throughout this novel as we follow the characters, first through feelings of weariness as the journey towards the port, to anxiety at the prospect of not gaining a ticket to board, to sickness and overcrowding once on-board and, finally, to both desperation and hope in a traumatic conclusion. The structure of the book works exceptionally well as short chapters tell the interwoven stories and slowly reveal the secrets of our four distinctive narrators. Engaging, interesting and, at times, terrifying characters abound as historical events are brought to life through their collective stories. This is a haunting and beautiful novel that breathes life into one of World War II's most terrifying and little-known tragedies.

Biography

Ruta Sepetys is the author of acclaimed YA novel, Between Shades of Grey. Born and raised in Michigan in a family of Lithuanian descent, Ruta now lives with her husband in Tennessee. Ruta was a highly successful promoter of classical music concerts, booking and touring with orchestras worldwide, before turning to writing full-time. In 2015 Ruta has been awarded The Rockefeller Foundation's prestigious Bellagio Center writing residency, where she will interact with other leading international artists, writers and thinkers.

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