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Zoe A, Impington Village College

Salt to the Sea

Where do I start? Salt to the Sea was, undoubtedly, my very favourite Carnegie book.

Unlike many novels based on World War II, it is inspired by historical events which are rarely mentioned otherwise. I loved how the author set the story during the war between Russia and Germany, particularly because the reader finds it very difficult to 'choose a side' as such; you hear about both countries committing endless offences and appalling crimes against the human race.

It is heart-breaking to read about the four main characters having to adjust to their new lives, which have been sculpted by the effect the war has. I found it simultaneously fascinating and mortifying to read that the 'single greatest tragedy in maritime history' is practically unheard of. While many thousands lost their lives, Hitler chose to cover the casualties up, supposedly so the Russians didn't know that their enemies were weakening.

At the beginning of the book, it was difficult to switch between perspectives of the different characters, but I adjusted very quickly. It was intriguing to hear about the same situation from different voices, and it really brought the book together. The way the author portrayed 'Alfie' really made me, as a reader, loathe him in a different way to how I hated other 'villains' as such. I hated him so passionately mainly because he was a downright coward: his opinions weren't any different to the opinions of his country's leader's. On the other hand, I loved to read about Florian, despite his untrustworthy presence- I think it showed true friendship how he kept returning to Emilia, Joana, and the rest of the characters in their 'group'.

I think the element about this novel that really sold itself to me was the language. The bare-faced emotion of the book was just heart-rending, and I loved how the author chose to hide each characters' inner emotion from the reader until further into the book. I definitely think that Salt to the Sea deserves to win the Carnegie.

Posted on: 18th June 2017 at 10:11 pm

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