Thursday, October 8, 2015
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Has everyone else out there already heard of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff? Because I most certainly had not, before reading this book. I'm talking never - not a thing. And to find out that it represents the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history... from a YA novel? Amazing.
Salt to the Sea works on a variety of levels. First, just as a narrative, it's gripping in all the right ways for a teen reader: the story is told from multiple points of view (each of which is easily identifiable), has lots of drama, moves along at a very quick pace, and has a sense of closure at the end. Second, the book works as a straight-up history lesson. And finally it serves as a lesson in the importance of history, of how if we don't pass along stories of atrocities people are doomed to repeat them.
Historical fiction has always been a poison in my reading life, and Ruta Sepetys appears to be the antidote. I have loved everything she's written and always look forward to seeing what she does next. I read an advanced reading copy of Salt to the Sea; it comes out in stores on February 2nd, 2016.