Book Review: Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the SeaSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees 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.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.


I haven’t read many ya novels taking place in World War II, and this has to be the first I’ve ever read that deals with the sinking of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff and the disappearance of the Amber Room. I have say, the author dealt with both of these subjects well- the book felt very well researched and it was interesting to read about something that I actually didn’t know much about.

However, despite how much I enjoyed the plot and the writing itself, I didn’t really get attached to any of the main characters. Instead, I was more interested in the side characters, like Heinz and Klaus. I liked Joana, Emilia, and Florian, but they weren’t nearly as interesting as the others.

(Alfred was a different story. I’m honestly more apathetic towards that probable sociopath.)

Overall, this was an okay book. It was interesting, and on a topic that I genuinely enjoyed- I just wish it hadn’t been as…detached.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Haven says:

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I have read Sepetys’ famed Between Shades Of Gray, which was also set in the WW2 period. I actually felt the same way about that one – it was very detached but well-researched. Salt To The Sea does seem more expanded though, I’ll probably read it soon when I’m in the mood. Nice review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I haven’t read any of Sepetys’ other books yet, but it seems like they’re all pretty good, despite the lack of emotion. Maybe I’ll try Between Shades of Gray next.

      Liked by 1 person

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