Review: ‘Salt to the Sea’ by Ruta Sepetys

Review: ‘Salt to the Sea’ by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Philomel on February 2nd, 2016
Genres: Historical, War, Young Adult
Pages: 391
Format: Hardcover
Source: borrowed from the library
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

Chapters/IndigoThe Book DepositoryAmazon CanadaGood Reads



I am now haunted by Ruta Sepetys’ storytelling.. Well the story is fictional but the events and the “Gustloff” were real.. That is something to think about. But yes okay back to the book.

Wonderful story-telling. Quick chapters. Four different viewpoints. Pretty predictable. But in a good way. The journey is always the hardest and the characters are just trying to survive. Some parts were horrific to imagine and yet I’m sure are the real-life accounts of what actually happened. What separates the real from fiction, I do not know and I really don’t want to know. The characters each had their own past and you can see how hard they’re all struggling to be the person they were before the war started. I honestly didn’t really think the romance was necessary, but if love can blossom even in war-torn stories, then I’m all up for it. Alfred was the creepiest one to read through, and I found myself skimming his entries mostly because they were diary-style and I disliked him the most with his disgusting “master race” thoughts.


War books are always so hard for me. After the masterpiece that was The Book Thief I am always open to reading anything and everything about World War Two. Even if it’s from the German’s viewpoint.


Things mentioned in the book that stayed with me for a long time.

“Pure bloods” were mentioned and I also wonder if that’s where J. K. Rowling got this heinous word.. I wouldn’t be surprised since it’s from the Nazis.

The disgusting viewpoint of one German who only thought of himself while people were being murdered.

“Bodies were strewn like human confetti. Would I still get my medal?” (345)


Grab this one if you’re looking for a little piece of world history that is not widely known. How many other stories are hidden from the world’s view just because it was in experiences through war? Now that is something I’m pondering after reading this.


What had human beings become? Did war make us evil or just activate an evil already lurking within us? (79)
Sometimes living life is more instructive than studying it. (121)
Yet amidst all that, life has spit in the eye of death. (275)
Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realize that somehow you still have more to give. (315)

reading progress






  1. Natalie

    March 31, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    This one is near the top of my TBR list! Can’t wait to check it out for myself! 🙂

    • giselle

      April 2, 2016 at 3:18 PM

      I really hope you like it! Writing is good 🙂

  2. Sophia Rose

    March 24, 2016 at 8:14 AM

    Wow! This looks like a story that would still with me. Nice review, Giselle!

    • giselle

      March 24, 2016 at 11:14 AM

      It sure does stay with you..

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