“A Book Review of Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys”
by Vanditha Krishnan
Historical fiction is a genre that most young adults won’t pick up at first glance. It’s boring, and history seems to discuss the same things over and over again, right? That’s not true to all of the historical fiction world-- Salt To The Sea is an excellent novel by award-winning author Ruta Sepetys. Lifting the veil on a mysterious tragedy during World War II, Sepetys’ profound writing will seize you from the very start…
Plot: It’s hard to review this book without giving anything away, each tiny detail is extremely important to note. Sepetys introduces you to four characters: Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred, that live during the catastrophic time of World War II. Each one of these individuals comes from a different background, and they all happen to meet on the ill-fated MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military transport ship. Unfortunately, disaster strikes and all four teenagers have to count on each other…
Characters: The first character we’re introduced to is Joana Vilkas, who is a young nurse seeking refuge from war-torn Lithuania. Joana is an altruistic woman who is willing to put herself behind others. Our second character is Florian Beck, who’s a protective, yet likable Prussian apprentice. Florian is Joana’s first friend during this time, and they bond quite well. Emilia Stożek is a 15-year-old pregnant girl from Poland who is escaping after a horrific encounter with a Russian soldier. Emilia is timid and vulnerable, especially to her new friends. We must close with Alfred Frick, the egocentric German sailor living in the shadows of Adolf Hitler’s propaganda. Alfred spends most of his time writing to Hannelore, a Jewish girl living in his hometown. All four of the characters in Salt To The Sea are different, however, they are all respectable in their own way.
Thoughts: Personally, I loved Joana’s bravery, Florian’s loyalty and flattery, and Emilia’s quiet strength. All of them came from difficult situations, but Emilia’s was by far the worst. In my opinion, Alfred was such an obnoxious guy -- every time he was introduced, I was actually scared! During all of his fights with Emilia, I was secretly hoping that he would be the one to lose. As far as the book goes, Salt To The Sea is my FAVORITE book ever written. I enjoyed the mystery, the tragedy,the romance, and the history that encompassed the novel. My reaction at the end didn’t include tears of grief, but of happiness. Every moment spent reading was worth the ending. This genre, historical fiction, is not one I commonly read to enjoy, but this book is something different and you will surely love it!
My Rating: 10/10