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Rosie, Chobham Academy Book Group

Salt to the Sea

Ruta Sepetys' heart-breaking historical fiction: Salt to the Sea follows the journey of four young characters and their converging paths.

The story is set in World War 2 Germany during the Hitler and Stalin conflict. The four characters are: Joana who is a Lithuanian nurse, Florian, a secretive Prussian, Emilia, a sensitive girl from Poland and Alfred- a German sailor. All four characters' lives have been devastated and shattered by the traumas and horrors of war. Also, all four characters have deep secrets that don't want to be revealed. After their lives being destroyed, they are all heading to their last hope: the Wilhelm Gustloff.

This book has intrigued me with its vivid and beautiful imagery and description. While I was reading the book, I wanted to keep reading and guessing what would happen later in the novel as the plot slowly and gradually unfolds. However, I would personally prefer less explanation from each perspective and more action present in the novel. Despite all this, I do think that the gripping but tragic climaxes are extremely engaging and heart-wrenching.

The characters in the book felt very real and vivid which is effective. Overall, my favourite character is probably Joana, the nurse from Lithuania because she gets along with each character and tries to remain positive even though she knows what war has done to everyone's lives. However, my least favourite character (who is the only character that Joana doesn't get along with as well as she does with the other characters) is Alfred- the German sailor working in the Nazi army. I dislike him as he is quite conceited and he writes mental letters to the girl that he's always liked instead of completing his orders to help maintain and keep the Wilhelm Gustloff safe for voyage.

In conclusion, I enjoyed it a little bit but not as much as I hoped to. The book was intriguing and a different genre to what I normally read. I would recommend this book to both teenage boys and girls and some adults if they enjoy historical fiction and coming of age novels. But, I wouldn't recommend it if they find books with more explaining than action tedious. Overall, I would rate it a 7 out of 10 because I enjoyed it a bit but it wouldn't be a book that I would re-read which is what I do with most books that I enjoy.

Posted on: 19th May 2017 at 05:06 pm

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