Let’s Take a Moment: Salt to the Sea

As I begin this blog post, I wanted to explain why it’s called, ‘Let’s Take a Moment’. I’m one of many people I know who thoroughly enjoy talking and recommending books to people. Just talking about a book I just recently read fills me with elation! Most times, once I’m done reading a book, I’ll just check it back in to the library or forget about it. Sometimes though, I find that amazing book that’s just so powerful and spellbinding that I feel a desperate urge to take a moment and talk about the book to anyone willing to listen.

So, Let’s Take a Moment to talk about Ruta Sepetys’ Salt to the Sea.

In Salt to the Sea, the story focuses on WWII and shines a light on one of the most devastating tragedies of naval history. The war is drawing closer every day to a close and in East Prussia, thousands of refugees are on a desperate journey to freedom. Among these refugees are four teenagers: Joana, Emilia, Florian, and Alfred, each from very different walks of life. Joana, Emilia, and Florian’s paths cross as they journey to the one ship that offers thousands salvation: the ‘Wilhelm Gustoff’. Forced to unite, the three find their courage, their strength, and their trust in each other tested with each and every step they take. Just when the freedom and safety are within their grasp, tragedy and devastation strikes. In a world where being different is dangerous and possibly deadly, in this moment of devastation, nothing matters besides survival.

Such a breathtaking tale of survival captured within a short 393 pages.

Where most authors would make the center point of their story the main characters, Sepetys went beyond that. Not only did she include intricate details of the main character’s lives, but the supporting characters as well. By the middle of the story, my heart was full of love for each and every character within the story.

Some authors would have lost touch with the historical side of their story, Sepetys touches the history side deeper than any author I’d read before. Each page was filled with some type of historical knowledge, and not too much to hide the story.

This book captured me on a level I didn’t know possible. It kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more. Now that I’ve finished the book, I can’t stop thinking about it or talking about it. This book is a masterpiece and deserves so much more publicity than it’s gotten. Though a lot of people believe that Sepetys’ other books outshine this one, I disagree. This book is filled with everything any reader would want! She delves into the lives of her characters during a time of despair and proves that love and humanity can prevail.

For fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize Winning ‘All the Light We Cannot See,’ and Elizabeth Win’s ‘Code Name Verity,’ this masterpiece of historical fiction is inspired by real tragedy.

This year, Salt to the Sea was nominated for the Eliot Rosewater Award, which is a High School book award chosen annually by students across Indiana in grades 9-12. The winner will be chosen at the end of April/beginning of May in 2018.


” [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.” -Wall Street Journal

“Riveting…powerful…haunting.” -Entertainment Weekly