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All booksYoung adultSalt to the Sea
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Young adult

Salt to the Sea

by Ruta Sepetys

Quick take

When tragedy strikes, we learn how humanity can prevail even in the darkest hours.

Why I love it

Book of the Month

Salt to the Sea shows the power of Young Adult books to bring new perspective to real historical events. Four teenagers desperately seek escape from the carnage of World War II. Their paths will converge on the German military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff, as they rush headlong into the greatest maritime disaster in human history. Short, crisp chapters give voice to the struggles of each teenager. And when tragedy strikes, we learn how humanity can prevail even in the darkest hours.

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Member thoughts

All (447)
All (447)
Love (336)
Like (100)
Dislike (11)
454 ratings
  • 74% Love
  • 22% Like
  • 2% Dislike
  • Fargo, ND

    I wish I could put into words how much Sepety’s novels impact me. Prepare to have your heart ripped out, writhe in suspense over the heros’ fate, & dwell on this book long after turning the last page

  • Chattanooga, TN

    The young adult genre loves historical fiction, which makes it hard to say something new. This beautiful, heart-breaking novel about a horrible maritime incident during WW2 is captivating and tragic.

  • Knightstown, IN

    Ruta Sepetys has such a way with historical fiction. Fountains of Silence has been my favorite of hers but this is a very close second. She really ties in true history to her fictional characters.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    The Wilhelm Gustloff maritime disaster has always been a fascination of mine and I was thrilled to see a historical fiction book based on the story! Heartbreaking and thoughtfully written.

  • Avon, OH

    Wow. This book had me from the first sentence. I loved the structure. I loved the parallelism and other subtle details and connections. The characters were so well developed.

  • Mason City, IA

    Everyone should read this book! Loved the layout and the story and characters and love that the author has brought well researched attention to this tragic and little known event.

  • Mechanicsburg, PA

    This was such a well-written, moving book. Something that stays with you long after the last page. Made me learn more about the time period and read all of the author’s novels.

  • Centennial, CO

    This book braught a side of the war to me that I had never seen before. It is beautifully written with compelling characters and it hit me in a way that i will not soon forget.

  • Marlborough, CT

    I’ve found a new favorite author! This renewed my love of historical fiction. I loved the multiple perspectives and all the different journeys explored throughout the book.

  • Sacramento, CA

    This is the kind of story that shatters your heart and seep into your soul but also shows you how evil the world can be. How fear can turn people ugly yet strengthens others.

  • Fort Branch, IN

    There are no words - I fell in love with the characters and was swept away, not only by the plot, but also by the quality of the plot and the overall engaging quality.

  • Dacula, GA

    Ruta has a remarkable gift for telling stories from European history that aren’t often told in classrooms and does so in a way that’s an absolute delight to read!

  • Lake Jackson, TX

    This book was so interesting. It had me crying almost throughout the book and I learned some things about what might have or even did happen back then. Great book.

  • San Francisco, CA

    I love a solid WWII story, especially ones that we haven't heard. Strong story-telling. Interesting characters. I could feel everything while reading this book.

  • West Lebanon, NH

    Really interesting and a unique story about WW2, this book is a novel novel lol. And since it’s an unknown portion of history reads as page turner. Loved it.

  • Fairport, NY

    So good and moving. Had a lot of feelings about all the characters. When not reading thinking about it. Know how its going to end but still so much tension.

  • Riverside , CA

    This is a beautifully written story in the genre of historical fiction. It's well written and you care about the characters. in a numerical scale 4.1/5

  • Wichita, KS

    Amazingly well written. I truly invested in these characters and their stories. I was so sad to leave their world when it was done.


    I can't believe I had never heard of this book OR the events its based on. Grabbed me hard, and I couldn't stop reading, or feeling.

  • Shelby Twp, MI

    "Salt to the Sea" is yet another beautifully poignant novel by Sepetys; it was truly unlike any other WWII novel I've read before.

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