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Salt to the SeaSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many, many thanks to Penguin Group, Penguin Young Readers Group, Philomel Books and Net Galley for ARC of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I just can’t stop gushing out this book! This masterful work of historical fiction is another excellent title BOTH adult and YA readers will want to read and not be able to put down!!! The young adult characters alternating their stories at the end of World War II all have secrets to hide yet they strive to survive and return to their homelands. My heart broke as I followed Joana, Florian, and Emilia with the masses of refugees who board the Wilhelm Gustloff ship. Joana is a Lithuanian nurse tortured by guilt. Florian is a Prussian with secrets and regrets but also an unwilling hunter and a reluctant hero. Emilia in her bright pink woolen cap, is a Polish girl fierce in loyalty and bravery. As their stories blend together, the reader lives their harsh reality of war, regret, and dreams. Ruta Sepetys takes a little known horrendous incident and crafts a mighty story you can’t put down; many times you will want to turn away from the horrors that are visited on poor innocents but the reader is engulfed in a story about war, it’s brutality, inhumanity and ultimately hope. Please read the Author Note for Ruta Sepetys’ insight and research on this little known incident in WW II history; it is essential to understanding the story. This is my new favorite book of hers, but I still love Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy!!! Ruta Sepetys is such a great historical fiction author who intricately weaves family, politics, war, love, and friendship into a sweeping story that will change the reader; it changed me. Look for this book February 2016, highly recommended.

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