Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A, standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Ruta Sepetys has been an interesting author to me, since her debut, Between Shades of Gray--I've been eagerly awaiting Salt to the Sea, and when I saw this sitting on the shelf of my local library, I just knew I had to take it home with me. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and it always has been. I've always enjoyed learning about history through fictional events, and this book was no different. This is my first novel by Sepetys, and like with everything else, I worried over the hype. What if I didn't like this book? What if I didn't end up finishing it?
But my worries, like usual, were unfounded. Told from the point of view of four very different teenagers, Joana, Emilia, Florian, and Alfred, this book cast a light on a little-known historical event--the sinking of two submarines in 1945, killing thousands of people. (In fact, honestly, before this novel, I had no idea this had actually happened.) You are literally thrown into the narrative, getting to know each character intimately. I was sucked in immediately, and I finished this novel in a day and a half. I loved the characters--well, most of them, anyway. Alfred--I pretty much couldn't stand him. But that aside, this book draws you in with past pacing, beautiful prose, and three-dimesional characters--I loved every fraught, tense moment in this little story.
It was lyrically written, beautiful and brutal. It was so painful to read, and after I was finished, I just held the book in my lap and cried my eyes out. This book was so deeply affecting, so real and frightening and gory, but I'm so glad I read it. One of my favorite books of 2016, and this book certainly won't be the last I'll see of Sepetys's work! The bottom line: A new, surefire hit from a historical darling, Salt to the Sea is one of my favorite novels of 2016--a beautiful masterpiece of the brutalities of war and finding your way home! Next on deck: Maestra by L.S. Hilton!