I fell behind on my reading for my children’s book group. Well, to be honest I stepped away from the group for a while. I loved the conversation and the books but felt pulled in to many directions and decided this was a summer of writing and reading for my writing project. It was all well and good, until they were reading Salt to Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I loved Sepetys writing for Out of Easy and had heard so much about Salt to Sea so I dove into it last week.
Sepetys takes us into the world of four teenagers caught in the middle of WWII fleeing for safety, all with secrets, all from different countries, all hunted and on the run with thousands of others. This historical fiction also highlights the little know story of the ship The William Gustloff. We learn the about these young adults through their alternating voices. Each chapter opens a bit more of the secrets they hold but also takes us along their journey to freedom.
This is not your light summer read but well worth the time. It would be a great addition to a study of the time period around WWII but there is also so much to talk about with students: trust, generosity, secrets, and the horrors of war to name a few. This complex novel fits into any great literature discussion. I love the different perspective this book gives as you see the war from inside the lives of young people. It is very different to be coming of age during the war.
War is not a go to topic for my reading but I am really glad I stopped to read this one. If you don’t know Sepetys as an author look her up. She is worth reading.
There is so much more to be said about this book but it is so easy to spoil the drama of the read so I am leaving my review here. If you want to read a more detailed and better written review with spoilers then click here for the New Your Times review from last February.
I am off to read Between Shades of Grey another one of hers that I have missed.