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Scarlett, Moreish Reading Group

Salt to the Sea

Joana is one of the main characters in the book "Salt to the Sea" and she can't help feeling guilty because she had to leave her home country, Lithuania. She doesn't know what's happened there and she is plagued by rumours of what the Germans have done there.

The book is set in the winter of 1945 and I think it's an effective choice because that was a very traumatic time during human history and Sepetys can use this to her advantage by incorporating the horror and drama of the war into her novel.

In the first chapter, Joana finds a young boy on the streets in warm clothes. She asks why he is alone and he tells her that his "Omi" hasn't woken up, it's as if he doesn't know about death and mortality. Joana and the little boy go for a walk and see a blue, still face of a woman who was almost completely covered by snow. The boy says to Joana that she didn't wake up either. To Joana's astonishment she realises that the woman had been run over by a tank. Joana grips the boy's hand and then they hear a bang. This grips me as the author leaves them on a cliff hanger and you are left wanting to know more.

The style of the book is in 1st person but in every chapter you hear about it from the perspective of a different character. I think it's effective because you can experience the same situation from a different person and understand how other people would react.
The two quotes I have chosen which I particularly like are:
"She didn't wake up"
"Bang"
I think the first quote is good because it gives a sinister feeling to the story and you begin to realise that this young child is innocent and doesn't realise that war is a merciless and awful thing, even to the innocent. I like second quote because it's a good use of onomatopoeia and it's just how it is, a simple word which brings such tension. It's also at the end of the chapter so it leaves you on a cliff hanger.

Posted on: 30th May 2017 at 03:27 pm

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