Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys | Book Review

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Released on February 2, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, War
Pages: 391


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. 


I honestly don’t know how I’m going to talk about this book. It completely tore my heart into pieces and I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover.

Ok, so I’m exaggerating just a little but seriously. This book was phenomenal. 

Salt to the Sea is a historical fiction novel set during World War 2. The novel follows 4 very different teenagers who are trying to survive on their journey to a ship named the Wilhem Gustloff, and also while aboard the ship. The book was told in different perspectives of the 4 main characters. Sepetys had this amazing way of connecting each person’s story-line so you fully get the whole story of each character. 

I ended up becoming extremely attached to the characters — or well, 3 of the 4. There was one character who got on my last nerve. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character more than this one. However, this character was extremely necessary for this novel and their bastardness was amazingly written. You know it’s a good author if she can make you hate this person ALMOST more than Umbridge. Almost. 

What broke my heart about this book was how realistic the settings were. I personally could never imagine having to go through what people had to go through during this war and it makes me extremely grateful for the life that I was born into. You could tell that Sepetys really researched this topic thoroughly and it shows tremendously in this novel. 

 I literally could not put this book down because it just had me so entranced with the story and the setting and the characters. Also, since it’s told in different perspectives, each chapter is quite short — no more than 5 pages each, so this is a relatively quick read. 
This book was pretty much an amazing, hauntingly beautiful masterpiece. 
5/5 stars.

I’m sorry this review was quite short, choppy and unhelpful, but I honestly have no clue how to describe my love for this book. I just can’t quite get the right words. I highly, highly recommend everyone to pick this up.

10 thoughts on “Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys | Book Review

    1. I definitely agree! I haven’t reviewed my favorite books of this year just because it’s complicated to put into words just exactly how much the book means to you. It’s amazing.


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