Book 48 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from May 28 - 31
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Summary (via Goodreads)
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 like that each person's story started with "[something different for each one] is a hunter". It really emphasized that even though they were very different on the outside, they would experience something as a group. It was also used again toward the end of the book for a similar effect.
At first switching points of view every few pages took some getting used to but as I got to know the characters each voice became distinct and I didn't have any confusion. It kept the pages turning.
I love love love the shoe poet. Alfred was the weakest to me but I understood the necessity of having him for certain descriptions and perspectives.
The author wanted to give the victims of the Wilhem Gustloff a voice and she succeeded. My heart broke in the most beautiful way at many points in the book and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to read it.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"What had human beings become? Did war make us evil or just activate an evil already lurking within us?"
"He was beautiful.
The knight was beautiful, handsome when he smiled.
He didn't want anyone to see it.
He didn't want to acknowledge it himself.
But for a brief moment, I saw him. The real man inside of him, not the one tortured by secrets and pain.
And he was beautiful."
"Survival had its price: guilt."
"The old man nodded. "There's a saying, 'Death hath a thousand doors to let out life; I shall find one.' We all have a door that waits. I know that. I accept it. But the children. That's what I struggle with." He shook his head. "Why the children?" "