[REVIEW] Salt to the Sea

Series: N/A
 Ruta Sepetys
 young adult, historical fiction, romance, adventure, survival
 February 2, 2016
Publisher: Philomel
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Winter, 1945. Lithuania, East Prussia, Germany, Poland.
Four teenagers. Four secrets. Each born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies... and war. 
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast seeking to escape the chaos and terror 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.
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Ruta Sepetys never fails to pull off a compelling historical fiction that kept me wanting more even after devouring the author notes and acknowledgements. 

Salt to Sea is Ruta Sepetys' third historical fiction novel. I've her read the first two: Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy and both are on my fave list just because they're amazing! While I really, really, LOVE this book (I have no idea how to further stress my love for this book), it didn't immediately grab me. But let's set that aside because that's just a small part of my reaction to this book.

Sal to the Sea takes on a story that's not always explored in YA books or in fiction in general. It's one of the things that really pushed me to read it immediately the moment it landed on my hands. I like how it was told in four perspectives. FOUR PERSPECTIVES!! While I did end up liking it, I struggle at first because of how short each chapter is. The switching of perspectives confused me for awhile but as I read, each character just grow in me. I like all of them despite their weaknesses and secrets.

What had human beings become? Did war make us evil or just activate an evil already lurking within us? -p79

Let's talk about the characters! Joana is my fave character. I like how strong is and how much she takes care of people. Although she has this strong guilt that she carries, she tries her best to do something in return for it. It may be for selfishness sake but she tries to care for people because she can. Florian is another fave for me. His eagerness to stop doing something he knows isn't good despite putting himself in great danger makes me like him. He's just there trying to survive and trying to do the right things despite the overflowing lies he creates. Then there's Emilia who's quite weak but takes strength from the people around her. While I didn't like her from the start, she starts to grow in me especially when her story was further told. Finally, there's Alfred who basically lives a fictional life. Of God, his 'mental letters' to his dearest Hannelore!!

Did I also mention how much I LOVE all the secondary characters? My fave would has to be Shoe Poet. He reads people through their shoes. He's amazing. He's very utterly nice and can talk sense to people. His words are some of the best in the book.

"But, Eva, dear, your shoes are carrying your most valuable possession - your life. Do not delay. Everything else can be replaced," said the shoe poet. -p191

This book did not made me cry though just a bit of tear up here and there but nothing more. If you ask me why it's probably because of how the story just didn't feel dramatic enough for me. Of course each character had that secrets that really holds so much pain and difficulty but no. Just no. Admittedly though, the most heartbreaking part for me was when the ship sunk. (We all know that the ship will sink right? It's not a bloodydamn spoiler.) Why? Simply because of all the things that were happening around everyone - running for their lives, saving people, and how their true nature basically comes out because of desperation. It's saddening that when all of them were all trying to make out of what to do next, they were faced with such drastic event.

I like how Sepetys slowly break out the story of each character why they feel the things they said in the beginning. It kept me reading. I was highly intrigued. Each main character carries a burden that brought them to the Wilhelm Gustloff. And throughout their novel, they developed into strong people who found strength on different things they came across in their journey.

"Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realize that somehow you still have more to give." -p315

How can I miss the romance in the book? I LOVE how Sepetys just inserts the romance in such a way that it doesn't overpower the overall story of the book. It's plainly sweet and I root for the two of them all the way. By the end of the book, I was like: MORE PLEASE!!

OVERALL, Salt to the Sea is a historical fiction EVERYONE MUST READ. Ruta Sepetys' words will bring you back in time. She'll introduce you to characters that carry worries far heavier than what they should carry at their age. She'll tell you how they take these difficulties and bring them into something that will make you smile. She'll make you read this book one page after another and keep you up all night trying to finish it. She'll make you want more even after you're read every single word in the book including the acknowledgements and author notes and whatnot. 

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What I Like: (1) ALL THE CHARACTERS (because how can you not like them?), (2) the secondary character (special mentions to Shoe Poet and Ingrid), (3) each character's development, (4) how Sepetys tied this book to Between Shades of Gray (just how awesome is that?), (5) how this book basically broke my heart because of the events at the end

What I Didn’t Like: (1) how short each chapters are - good thing? bad thing? it made me struggle in the beginning but it kept me intrigued


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How about you guys, have you read Salt to the Sea? What do you think of it? Who's your fave character? How do you find the short chapters? The multiple perspectives?

If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you enjoy historical fiction? How do you feel about heartbreaking stories? Do you like reading them? OR do you avoid them? 

let's connect!
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