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Mrs Count, Burford School Carnegie Shadowers

Salt to the Sea

I thought I might be at a disadvantage in reading Salt to the Sea quite soon after reading The Book Thief, but I was glad this covered different territory (quite literally) and its ending was that little bit more uplifting. I especially appreciated Sepetys's careful attention to groups of people not often touched upon in YA historical fiction, especially those caught between Russia and Germany and who found themselves ducking beneath bullets coming from both sides.

I loved Florian's character growth, and Joana provided a strong heroine to cheer for. I would, however, have liked to have seen more complexity and a light touch of humanity in Alfred's point of view, as one can be a villain while also retaining some shred of decency, and it would have made his descent that much more tragic. (Besides, even Hitler liked dogs.) Overall, I believe it would have added another layer to the novel if it featured a German or Russian character who wasn't evil.

These nitpicks aside, Salt to the Sea was enjoyable, and surprisingly sweet for the setting. Its climax was gripping and its short chapters kept me going to the end. I look forward to reading more of Ruth Sepetys's work in the future.

Posted on: 10th May 2017 at 02:11 pm

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