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Tom W, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School For Boys

Salt to the Sea

The Carnegie Shortlist Book I have chosen to review is 'Salt to the Sea', by Ruta Sepetys.
The plot of the book focuses around four young people Florian, Emilia, Joana, and Alfred, and their friends and companions, caught up in the middle of World War 2. Each from a different country, all trying to escape Russia's Red Army. Each have their own storyline, backstory and ambitions for the future, which creates excitement, as no two endings are exactly alike. The four protagonists are trying to escape the soviets via a German ship, called the Wilhelm Gustloff. All four stories merge at the end of the book, to create a thrilling conclusion, that had me on the edge of my seat.

I chose this book to review because for me, it sparked the most genuine emotion, and managed to provide a great deal of suspense and anticipation, an aspect which most modern books have lost. I loved the book because it set no real expectations or boundaries for the characters, so you could not predict how they would act, and what choices they would make. Also, the book is modelled around the Second World War and some people find this topic boring, but 'Salt to the Sea' does very well not to fall down that trap, by using emotive language, suspense, and short but brutal action, which results in a book which I found very hard to put down. Another thing I found interesting about this book was the layout, as the chapters do not have overviews of the text, or numbers, but simply the name of one of the four main characters, determined by who's perspective the chapter is from. The book is in first person, which is useful as it creates a sense of inclusion, and is written in a style typical to the author, which is used to shock the reader, but also soften the blow on more violent events. I love this style of writing, because it enables the author to balance scenes of shocking trauma or cruelty, with light-heartedness and humour. One of the main reasons I am reviewing this book, is because the author has not focused on the characters feelings and emotions too long, so the actual action has to be crammed into the last couple of chapters. Instead, she has used the emotions of the four protagonists to be an active element in the progression of the story, so character development can take place.

Overall, I personally loved this book, as it focused on character development and interaction between the characters, as well as combining blunt action with in-depth compassion. The result of this and previous points listed, make for an amazing read, not only exciting, but informative. I recommend this book to anyone over the age of nine, and hope for you to like it as much as I did

Posted on: 2nd May 2017 at 05:46 pm

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