Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Published: August 3rd, 2016 by: Thorndike Press
Rating: 5/5 stars
World War II is finally over in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are trying to make the escape to freedom. A ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, promises them just that, and many board the ship making it's way to safe ground. Among the refugees are Florian, Emilia and Joana, strangers who have all got something to hide. However when tragedy strikes among the ship, the three, and the thousands others on the fated ship, must do whatever it takes to survive.
This book was a harrowing, heartbreaking and just plain beautiful piece of writing. It revolves around a tragedy of WWII not very well known, I didn't even know it myself, and that is the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Thousands of refugees were on this boat looking for a better life, and yet, they were doomed. Most people just know of the Titanic as the most famous ship sinking, but I think that this story is of as equal importance and deserves equal recognition.
The book is told in alternating points of view from refugees of very different backgrounds. Each and every character were so well-developed, their stories so well thought out and I fell for every one of them. I especially had a soft spot for Joana, as she was so kind and had such an amazing soul. I loved how unique each character's situation was.
What I love about Sepetys is that she sheds light on historical events not well known to the public. She doesn't skim the surface of events, she goes into these terrible and emotional things that happened to real people that need more recognition. I had no idea that this sinking had even happened because the only ship sinking I was ever taught about was the Titanic, but after reading this book I felt like I had learnt something new. Sepetys gives these victims a story to tell.
Overall, an amazing WWII book that tells a different story. I think anyone interested in history should read this book, as it will educated you on a story that you didn't even know about, but that affected a lot of people.
Have you read Salt to the Sea? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess