This is a beautiful, moving work of historical fiction about the largest, and one of the least known, maritime disasters in history. Short chapters told from the point of view of each character keeps the book moving swiftly along, and it brings to stark life the realities of how war affects civilians, and the atrocities committed by all parties in World War Two. Sepetys continues her tradition of writing great books about little known chapters of history, and this may be her best yet.
During the Second World War, the Russians torpedoed and sunk the Wilhelm Gustloff with 10,582 passengers on board. More than 9400 died in the cold Baltic Sea, including 5000 children. This little-known maritime disaster is impeccably researched and viscerally conveyed through the stories of four adults, slowly revealed in alternating chapters in Sepetys’ haunting historical fiction. Why do we read about disasters? Perhaps to illumine our character—our most base and our best tendencies. And because it is important here, as well, to not forget. Ages 14 & up.
#1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Carnegie Medal!
"A superlative novel . . . masterfully crafted."--The Wall Street Journal
Based on "the forgotten tragedy that was six times deadlier than the Titanic."--Time
Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately 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. But not all promises can be kept . . .
This paperback edition includes book club questions and exclusive interviews with Wilhelm Gustloff survivors and experts.
About the Author
Ruta Sepetys (www.rutasepetys.com) is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over fifty countries and thirty-six languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea are all New York Times bestsellers, international bestsellers, and Carnegie Medal nominees. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes, are included on over twenty state reading lists, and are currently in development for film. Born and raised in Michigan, Ruta now lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys.
Praise for Salt to the Sea:
A #1 New York Times Bestseller An International Bestseller Winner of the Carnegie Medal Featured on NPR's Morning Edition
"Ruta Sepetys acts as champion of the interstitial people so often ignored — whole populations lost in the cracks of history."—The New York Times "Superlative...masterfully crafted...[a] powerful work of historical fiction."—The Wall Street Journal [Sepetys is] a master of YA fiction…she once again anchors a panoramic view of epic tragedy in perspectives that feel deeply textured and immediate."—Entertainment Weekly "[A] riveting novel . . . Sepetys skillfully weaves history into her story, here grounding her nuanced characters in the events of winter 1945. Vivid details punctuate the spare prose."—The Washington Post
"[H]aunting, heartbreaking, hopeful and altogether gorgeous...one of the best young-adult novels to appear in a very long time."—Salt Lake Tribune
"Ruta Sepetys is a master of historical fiction. In Salt to the Sea the hard truths of her herculean research are tempered with effortless, intimate storytelling, as her warm and human characters breathe new life into one of the world's most terrible and neglected tragedies." —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Printz Award Honor Book Code Name Verity
“A rich, page-turning story that brings to vivid life a terrifying—and little-known—moment in World War II history.” —Steve Sheinkin, author of Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist Bomb
"Brutal. Beautiful. Honest." —Sabaa Tahir, New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes
"Ruta Sepetys is more than just an author — she's history's answer to CSI."—Mashable
"[A] stunning historical novel."—Hypable
* "Sepetys excels in shining light on lost chapters of history, and this visceral novel proves a memorable testament to strength and resilience in the face of war and cruelty." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered, and in turn, it tries to remember the thousands of real people its fictional characters represent. What it asks of us is that their memories, and their stories, not be abandoned to the sea." —Booklist, starred review
* "Artfully told and sensitively crafted, Sepetys’s exploration of this little-known piece of history will leave readers weeping." —SLJ, starred review
"The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn't change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning. Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful." —Kirkus Reviews "Intimate, extraordinary, artfully crafted...brilliant."—Shelf Awareness
"This book includes all the reasons why teens read: for knowledge, for romance, for amazing and irritating characters. This novel will break readers’ hearts and then put them back together a little more whole." —VOYA
"Sepetys’s...scene-setting is impeccable; the penetrating cold of the journey is palpable, and she excels at conveying the scope of the losses while giving them a human face....[T]his elegiac tale succeeds with impressive research, affecting characters, and keen, often unsettling insights into humans’ counterposed tendencies toward evil and nobility. Readers will be left to discuss which impulse triumphs here." —The Horn Book