Salt to the Sea

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Mar 2016

Member Reviews

Great book! I loved all of the characters and the plot line. It was a very moving story and all the little details given really furthers the reader liking of the story. Thank you very much, I was a very good read! Would definitely recommend it.
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I didn’t enjoy this as much as Out of the Easy which is my favourite of hers. I didn’t finish it.
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This was a fascinating historical novel, not my usual choice of genre, but it had me gripped from start to finish. It also led me down a Wikipedia wormhole afterwards as I tried to learn more about the Wilhelm Gustloff and the events surrounding it. 
Bittersweet and very moving with an excellent cast of characters, and an ending that nearly had me in tears. Easy to see why it won the Carnegie Medal.
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"Salt to the Sea" by Ruta Sepetys tells of an fearful event which occured at the end of the Second World War, when Russian troops were pushing westwards towards Berlin.Their advance caused a mass migration of people from Eastern Europe, terrified by the stories of the brutality of the troops.

These refugees were heading for a Baltic port, where large ships were waiting to evacuate them to comparative safety. However, we now know that approximately 25,000 people lost their lives during this evacuation, when the ships carrying them were torpedoed by Russian submarines.

"Salt to the Sea" tells this story of the flight and evacuation through the eyes of several interesting protagonists. Florian is Prussian; Emilia, Polish; Joana is a Lithuanian German and Alfred is a German sailor. Each has a secret which they are desperate to hide and this adds to the interest of this novel. The minor characters are appealing and I especially liked the relationship between the Shoe Poet and the Wandering Boy.

This novel, based firmly on a true story, is so full of tragedy, but the resilience of humanity is also to be found. Ruta Sepetys described settings, characters and events with such a deft hand, that the book came alive for me. I would recommend this to anyone who wishes to know more about the suffering of war, whatever their age.
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I'm afraid I can no longer access the edition of this book so cannot give a fair review.
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Another important and lesser talked about part of World War 2 history told in an honestly brutal way by Sepetys. 

I so admire Sepetys for being able to tell a very hard story -especially if its one like this about a true historical event- and be able to stick to the actual facts while still building an actual story around it. Its a talent. Its not something everyone can do. 

Sepetys can do it! No doubt about it. 

And while i love that she clearly did her research, and she told a great story -and FINALLY someone manage to write an english book and still get the german language right!- Between Shades of Grey by her is the better book in my option. 

Between shades of grey had more character development, more actual emotions and feelings and attachments throughout the story. But than again it was told from one point of view. 

What i didn't like as much: 
- the multiply points of view!
There were to many and switched of too fast in my option. 
I don't mind a good amount of characters. BUT i need more to actually care about them if that is happening. Give me the point of view of four characters! No problem, but make either the chapters longer so that i can get an actual feel of their characteristics OR don't write as many characters?
There was just something about the constant switch and the POV that didn't work for me and made the entire story and plot feel.... less? Somehow? 
It didn't hit me as hard and extremely brutal as Between Shades of Grey and the descriptions of that book hit me. And i think that is because all the POVs in this never allowed me to actually get involved with the characters. 
I didn't care about them nearly as much and that is a bit sad.

- the short chapters!
Its kind of going on hand in hand with the point above.
Because of the constant switch of POV there were really short chapters. And with the switch of the POV we got switch of the story line -be it a small change or a completely different story all together- it threw me out of the actual plot and story being told. And before i could actually get back into the flow of the story... we got switched yet again- yet another chapter started and yet another storyline picked up. 
It felt too abrupt. Too fast and swift for this kind of story for me. 
But than i again i am one of the few people that actually is not a big fan of short chapters but prefers the rather endless seeming ones. So it could have had something to do with that!

 the little touches i LOVED
- that we get the little story of WHY Between Shades of Grey even happens! And just thank you Sepetys for that! Because it kind of binds the stories together without actually giving them the need to read them both if you don't want to!

It connects them more than just having to cousins be part of each book! And i loved how subtle but at the same time so clearly obvious that connection is done in the book. I love it if the author doesn't write in bright neon coloured flashing lights to point out the connections between their different books -if there are any- but simply states things and either the reader notices those details or they don't. 

Sepetys did that fantastically wonderful!

- How realistic it is!
We get the war horror in this. 
We get not detailed bloody descriptions of how people die and look BUT we also don't get the flowery writing talking around it. 
If something happens? If someone dies? We get told someone died. We get a reaction from that dead. Be it thankful that a solider that might have done something and to the character is dead, or be it sadness for loosing someone that shared part of this horrendous journey the characters are on throughout this story with them and they are sad to have lost that companion. 
Its realistic. Its real. Its brutal, but not overly so and thankfully its not prettied up. 

I HATE it if a War book tries to make death beautiful or poetic or nice. Its not! 
Its sad and horrible and ... just not something that should be romanticised. And i LOVE that Sepetys never does that. 
She is real about it and that makes it so heartbreaking as her writing is. She doesn't make it into more or less than it is. She simply talks about what happen in a very real and honest way. 

And lets face it. War? Is brutal enough! Nobody needs to talk it up or try to make it into more than it was!

All in all?

It was a great and heartbreaking story. Yet again. 

It was honest and real and showcases the horrors that is war but also shows us the hope and truth of survivors that humans are and in a way that makes it even more heartbreaking but also even more beautiful to read. 

This book is NOT for everyone. 
But everyone SHOULD give it a try. 

Because we all should NEVER; EVER forget what war does and how horrible it is. 
And we all should try and learn from this type of writing and books and be thankful... SO THANKFUL!... that many of us might -hopefully!- never have to live through what this book tells us about! And that we should ALWAYS try to find other ways than war. 

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Ruta Sepetys does it again. Her novels are just absolutely incredible. Not only do you get an incredible heartbreaking non-stop story, but also a history lesson. I love that I finish her novels and immediately go to my computer to google the real events and educate myself. Her novels are so important to YA readers.
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I was looking forward to reading this as I really enjoyed Between Shades of Grey by the same author. This book is primarily about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during WW2 and it chronicles a journey of 4 people who journey their from their towns to escape the Russians. My favourite characters were Florian, a young man whose restoration of stolen art and his moral views of the Third Reich lead him to flee Germany on the ship. On the way he meets and falls in love with Joana, a young nurse who wonders what secrets Florian is hiding. The story is told from different points of view from each of the characters and while the story is compelling to read, i found the ending to be a little rushed after the ship goes down and I would have loved to have read more about these characters and to find out what happens to them in more detail.
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In an effort to be honest with myself and my own reading habits, I have to admit defeat with this one. I was curious about the premise and was interested in reading more especially by an author I'd previously enjoyed ... but I've had this book for many months and it has gone unread. Something about the book, something about the ways I choose my next read ... meant that this book has gone overlooked for far too long.
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Did not complete. I found the constant change in perspective somewhat annoying; it made the book difficult to get into and hard to follow because I don't feel you stay in one body long enough. There are so many brilliant reviews around this book, but unfortunately, I don't think it's one for me. After reading the Book Thief I thought it would appeal, but as I got into the book I found it hard to stay interested in the theme. Saying that, I didn't get very far before I did give it up, so I am sure it gets better as it goes on, I personally, just wasn't interested enough from the start.
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Any book about Germany in the war is going to ache and the sailor's arrogance was twice as infuriating as the character found him. I appreciated the 'nice' Germans who balanced the unlikable ones (I adored the shoemaker). The way Septys explored the complexities of Prussian, Polish, and Lithuanian identities really make this book stand out. This is the book's strength-it did justice to the actual layers of issues and people going on in the country and then the ending with the Allies (I have not known ahead of time) was a punch in the stomach.
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