Salt to the Sea

Ruta Sepetys

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I tend to forget how powerful literature can be. This was an eye opening and devastating historical fiction that I refused to put down; despite the anxiety I felt with every page.

Salt to the Sea takes place during World War II and is an absolutely phenomenal read. A read you won’t not walk away from a complete wreck. It left me with such a heavy heart and all I did post this read was BAWL.

The book is told from four different perspectives — a Prussian, German, Pole, and Lithuanian; all refugees with all different experiences and lives. The goal? Get to Germany’s evacuation point to load the ships to flee from the nearing russians. the Wilhelm Gustloff — a cruise ship — equipped to hold only 1,400 managed to hold over 10,000 refugees. It’s schedule to depart from port January 30, 1945 in honor of Hilter’s rise to power.

{You can continue reading, be aware of SPOILERS}

Devastatingly, within the first few hours of departure to freedom, a trip only meant to last 48 hours, Russian ships shot four torpedoes at the Wilhem Gustloff. Within sixty minutes, over 9000 refugees died as the ship tipped nose first and sunk; over 5000 children perished.

This tragedy is so unfathomable in my brain. I just canNOT imagine the aftermath of something like that. And since being through the Holocaust, this book felt that more real to me and really helped put things into perspective. I feel honored to have read it and let it impact me as deeply as it did.


Both child and adult narratives are portrayed in this novel and each perspective is completely different and sorrowful, yet full of hope for the future of freedom. Each perspective incredibly powerful, this novel gives both survivors and perishers, a voice.

I’d 110% recommend. Forever.

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