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Le sel de nos larmes (Pôle fiction)

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Hiver 1945. Quatre adolescents, chacun né dans un pays différent, chacun hanté par sa propre guerre. Parmi les milliers de réfugiés fuyant à pied, le destin les a réunis pour affronter le froid, la faim, la peur, les bombes... et embarquer sur le "Wilhem Gustloff", un navire promesse de liberté.


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Hiver 1945. Quatre adolescents, chacun né dans un pays différent, chacun hanté par sa propre guerre. Parmi les milliers de réfugiés fuyant à pied, le destin les a réunis pour affronter le froid, la faim, la peur, les bombes... et embarquer sur le "Wilhem Gustloff", un navire promesse de liberté.

30 review for Le sel de nos larmes (Pôle fiction)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kat O'Keeffe

    Such a thrilling read! The main characters were all so interesting and I loved how much mystery and tension there was in each of their stories. I also loved the rich world building! I'm not usually big on history, but I loved the way the history was presented here. Between the setting and the writing, everything was SO vivid, which just amped up the intensity. Overall, this was a fantastic historical standalone. I definitely recommend it, especially if you like emotionally gripping reads with lot Such a thrilling read! The main characters were all so interesting and I loved how much mystery and tension there was in each of their stories. I also loved the rich world building! I'm not usually big on history, but I loved the way the history was presented here. Between the setting and the writing, everything was SO vivid, which just amped up the intensity. Overall, this was a fantastic historical standalone. I definitely recommend it, especially if you like emotionally gripping reads with lots of tension and fascinating characters!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    I try, I really do, but Sepetys's war stories do nothing for me. Yes, I know I'm in the minority. I was one of few who didn't love her debut - Between Shades of Gray - and much preferred her second book - Out of the Easy. Now she returns to World War II and, once again, I don't get it. As with her first novel, I feel a little uncomfortable being negative about these kinds of books. This was a horrific time when some terrible atrocities were committed and I applaud the author for always focusing o I try, I really do, but Sepetys's war stories do nothing for me. Yes, I know I'm in the minority. I was one of few who didn't love her debut - Between Shades of Gray - and much preferred her second book - Out of the Easy. Now she returns to World War II and, once again, I don't get it. As with her first novel, I feel a little uncomfortable being negative about these kinds of books. This was a horrific time when some terrible atrocities were committed and I applaud the author for always focusing on the unknown, but no less true, parts of history. Many of us know the tales of German and Polish Jews during the Nazi reign, far less know what Lithuanian refugees faced. Even fewer will know of the tragedy this book is about. I like that. Historical fiction that teaches me something is always appreciated. However, a few history lessons is truly all I took from this book. The story is told in very short chapters of 2-3 pages (sometimes just a few sentences) and the perspective jumps between four different people - Joana, Florian, Emilia and Alfred. Personally, this didn't work for me. We spent so little time with each character before moving on that I constantly felt distanced from them, never making an emotional connection. In the beginning, the rapid movement between perspectives even made it difficult to follow the story. Sepetys, for me, writes some of the most detached accounts of WW2 atrocities. It honestly shouldn't be that hard to evoke sympathy or some feeling for these poor people, but I genuinely felt nothing. You know those expendable people that get gunned down in movies while the hero runs from the bad guys? The ones who the camera brushes over and we never think about again? That is how I felt when learning of all the casualties and brutality in this book. The book is told in one long, tedious journey and features many flashbacks that failed to pique my interest. The present is literally about them trekking across the icy landscape and having to show their papers to one soldier after another, before finally getting to the boat they want to board. I'm sorry, but it was so boring. Maybe I could put it down to recently reading a fast-paced, exciting (and horrifying) book set during the Second World War - Front Lines - but, to be honest, I just think the author's war stories are not for me. I'm an emotional reader, and this kind of narrative leaves me cold. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jesse (JesseTheReader)

    (4.5) This book was beautiful. It's gonna take a minute for all my thoughts to set in. Video review to come!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Stiefvater

    This swift-footed, kind-hearted historical is intensely satisfying in just about all the ways a novel can be satisfying. Without further ado, here are five things you should know about it before picking it up: 1. A lot of times, historical fiction shows its work. As a history major, I don't mind a research-filled brick of a book, but I'd think carefully about who I recommended it to. Historical can be dense. Salt to the Sea is not that book: Sepetys chooses her word battles carefully for an incre This swift-footed, kind-hearted historical is intensely satisfying in just about all the ways a novel can be satisfying. Without further ado, here are five things you should know about it before picking it up: 1. A lot of times, historical fiction shows its work. As a history major, I don't mind a research-filled brick of a book, but I'd think carefully about who I recommended it to. Historical can be dense. Salt to the Sea is not that book: Sepetys chooses her word battles carefully for an incredibly fast read. Short chapters elbow you and say "read just one more, right?" until the book is all gone. 2. I wanted to call this a thriller when I first started typing up this recommendation, but the term's not quite right. It's quite fast-paced, but THRILLER feels wrong: it's not quite got that frantic electricity. ADVENTURE is closer, but still wrong. Shouldn't there be jeeps and a comic relief side kick in an adventure? There's mostly just soldiers and frostbite and abandoned soup in this one, which is not the same. Nevertheless, you should know: it's not a depressing book, although sad things happen in it. 3. The characters are lovely. There are many of them, all deftly and lightly-drawn, and because they come from all ages and backgrounds, the dynamics between them are ever-changing. It's told from four points of view to allow the reader to spin around the story from all angles, and because each of the POV characters brings something very different to the table, this swapping of eyes is satisfying rather than frustrating. 4. Sepetys has two other historicals out that I enjoyed a lot, but this one has headed briskly to the top of the list. it's confident and stylish in a way that is really satisfying to see. 5. This novel is the natural successor to Code Name Verity: a character-driven, accessible, YA historical with all the feels you could desire and enough research to bring down an elephant. If elephants were brought down by research.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    Update: Here is my video review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oubBC... This book is a masterpiece. It takes place during WW2 and follows 4 characters as they are seeking freedom on the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety to all. Going into it I was very apprehensive about reading it. Historical fiction is not a genre I typically reach for. But this book blew me away. It's safe to say that this book was the best book I have read this year. The writing in the book was so phenomenal. The Update: Here is my video review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oubBC... This book is a masterpiece. It takes place during WW2 and follows 4 characters as they are seeking freedom on the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety to all. Going into it I was very apprehensive about reading it. Historical fiction is not a genre I typically reach for. But this book blew me away. It's safe to say that this book was the best book I have read this year. The writing in the book was so phenomenal. The way that Ruta laid out the story through her writing was so just beautiful. I felt like every single word in this novel had a purpose. There were these sentences that she would lace throughout the different points-of-view to connect them that I just thought was so brilliant. Out of the four main characters I loved 3 of them. I felt so much for them and their struggles. Towards the end of the book I felt like they were people I knew and I desperately wished I could change their fate. I also LOVED the side characters just as much as the main. The one main character I didn't like was a character that you aren't suppose to like so that wasn't necessarily a problem. I just didn't find myself enjoying his chapters as much as the others. This is a book that I know will stick with me and I am going to be thinking about these characters forever. You definitely won't want to miss this book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lola

    4.5 stars. No wonder SALT TO THE SEA won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction. It’s pretty darn captivating. Every time I finish reading an historical novel, especially the WWII ones, I find the need to congratulate myself. It’s no secret that those novels are usually heavy in emotions and historical elements. Yet Ruta Sepetys made reading this YA historical novel so easy. I didn’t even feel the necessity to take a dozen breaks between chapters. And that’s because it’s so… Access 4.5 stars. No wonder SALT TO THE SEA won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction. It’s pretty darn captivating. Every time I finish reading an historical novel, especially the WWII ones, I find the need to congratulate myself. It’s no secret that those novels are usually heavy in emotions and historical elements. Yet Ruta Sepetys made reading this YA historical novel so easy. I didn’t even feel the necessity to take a dozen breaks between chapters. And that’s because it’s so… Accessible. You don’t have to be a university student to understand fully what happens in this book. You don’t even need to be knowledgeable about World War II. The only thing you need to do is pay close attention to what the characters are saying. Which isn’t hard at all. Ruta Sepetys’ writing is simple enough that we understand absolutely everything she is saying, but not so simple that it feels as if it were written by a kindergartener. It’s actually very lyrical. This novel is narrated from four distinct point of views/characters – Alfred, Florian, Joana and Emilia – who are all brought together on the Wilhelm Gustloff by the catastrophic war. Like many people, I forgot about this terrible part of the Second World War. I first heard about this ship when I watched the movie The Imitation Game, if this is indeed the ship that was mentioned in the movie, yet I only connected the dots when things started getting awry in the novel. Even more so than they are already were. What a tragic event. So many lives. How did I not learn about this ship in high school? Thank you, books and movies (if that’s the ship!). Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    Such a beautiful yet tragic story. Ruta Sepetys has such a way with words. Video review to come

  8. 4 out of 5

    Crumb

    “How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.” ALL THE FEELS! Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys nurtured my body, it fed my soul, it made my heart soar. I also had a wave of despair and a feeling of intense longing when the book ended, coming to the unfortunate and fortunate realization that I would be experiencing a book hangover. (A phenomenon that occurs when you read something so good, you think you will never find something quite as good again) This book was by no means “How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.” ALL THE FEELS! Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys nurtured my body, it fed my soul, it made my heart soar. I also had a wave of despair and a feeling of intense longing when the book ended, coming to the unfortunate and fortunate realization that I would be experiencing a book hangover. (A phenomenon that occurs when you read something so good, you think you will never find something quite as good again) This book was by no means a walk in the park or a box of Godiva chocolates. It is like you are on an emotional roller coaster, with upside down turns, twists, and drops. It will tear at your insides, it makes you want to cry and shriek.. "why is this happening" ? This novel follows Joana, Emilia, Florian, and Alfred. They are young adults vying for a passage on the Wilhelm Gustloff. It takes place in the Winter of 1945 during World War II. These young adults and the passengers on board the Gustloff are hoping for freedom and safety from the war. This book was inspired by the biggest maritime tragedy of all-time. When I had read the plot summary, I had initially thought.. "Hold up.. The Titanic or The Lusitania was the biggest tragedy in maritime history, wasn't it?" NO! It actually was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. For more information on this event, please Ruta Sepetys hit a home run with this one. I'd like to add a caveat about this book: If you are a reader (like me) who might generally shy away from young adult fiction, don't! I loved this! In addition, I loved how the book was constructed. The chapters were very short. In fact, while I was reading, I kept thinking "Just one more chapter, Just one more chapter.." and then I noticed it was dark outside and I had finished the whole book! Gotta love those! #stayuptoolatecan'tfunctionbooks This book was unexpected. It was executed skillfully and I loved how the author recreated the time period so effortlessly. It was clear that Ruta Sepetys had done extensive research on the subject matter and time period, leaving meticulous details throughout the book indicating her extensive knowledge. Ruta Sepetys has a way with words that cannot be matched or duplicated. This book will leave a footprint on my heart forever, for that, I'm sure. Highly, Highly Recommended! 5/5 Popsugar Challenge: Prompt #25 A book that takes place by the sea Buddy Read

  9. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Schwab

    Ruta's work is a gift.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    “Joana Vilkas, your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea.” I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I finished reading Between Shades of Grey back in August. I’ll admit that I had very high expections for this book and I’m glad that every single one of them was met. I could not stop reading Salt to the sea, I kept telling myself just one more chapter, just one more (we all know how well that works). I enjoyed reading from every main character and (view spoiler)[ wished we got to read at “Joana Vilkas, your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea.” I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I finished reading Between Shades of Grey back in August. I’ll admit that I had very high expections for this book and I’m glad that every single one of them was met. I could not stop reading Salt to the sea, I kept telling myself just one more chapter, just one more (we all know how well that works). I enjoyed reading from every main character and (view spoiler)[ wished we got to read at least one chapter from Ingrid’s point of view before she died. (hide spoiler)] I really cared for Joana and Florian, Ruta Sepetys has a special talent for powerful romances. I can’t stop thinking about them. There were so many compelling moments in this book with Joana and Florian and Emilia, I had tears streaming down my face for the last 100 pages. "Joana still had her mother. Reuniting with her mother was her motivation. She would slay dragons to get to her. Mother was anchor. Mother was comfort. Mother was home. ” Simply put, Salt to the Sea will be added to my favorites! I loved it. (view spoiler)[THANK YOU RUTA FOR SAVING FLORIAN, BUT EMILIA- I was so sure that Emilia would reunite with her baby. (hide spoiler)] Also, listened to this song while reading, which made my reading experience a lot more emotional. ARC from Netgalley (Thank You). *Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Salt to the Sea, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils This review and more can be found on my blog.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    Before starting 'Salt to the Sea', I had heard quite a lot of praise for the book. In fact, I was a little nervous to start it because I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to it's reputation. Thankfully, that didn't prove to be the case. This book was beautiful, devastatingly so. Ms. Sepetys does a wonderful job of shedding light on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a maritime disaster that claimed more than 9,000 lives and remains an overlooked part of history. Admittedly, I had never heard Before starting 'Salt to the Sea', I had heard quite a lot of praise for the book. In fact, I was a little nervous to start it because I was afraid that it wouldn't live up to it's reputation. Thankfully, that didn't prove to be the case. This book was beautiful, devastatingly so. Ms. Sepetys does a wonderful job of shedding light on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a maritime disaster that claimed more than 9,000 lives and remains an overlooked part of history. Admittedly, I had never heard of this disaster until reading this book. Perhaps this is the result of a world that was less than sympathetic to German pain and loss following the end of WWII and the unveiling of the Nazi atrocities. Whatever the reason, I am glad that Ms. Sepetys brought this piece of history into the light. This story needed to be told. Weaving fact and fiction together seamlessly, the author tells the story of a group of WWII refugees trying to flee as the Russian troops gain ground toward the end of WWII. Told in alternating POVs, this book reveals a human side of war. Everybody seems to have something to hide and a different motivation for their actions. Above all else, this story highlights the fight to survive. Most noticeable in this cast of characters are: Joana, the Lithuanian nurse; Emilia, a young Polish girl; Florian, Emilia's mysterious rescuer; and Alfred, a young German soldier. There is a full cast of supporting characters as well, such as the shoemaker, that contribute to the richness of this story. Each play a significant role in making this a robust reading experience. I don't want to spoil this story for anyone. Obviously, the ship sinks. However, I won't say much else about the storyline because I think this is a story worth experiencing. This isn't a rainbows and unicorns type of story. It is real and moving. At times painful, this book highlights the depths of human depravity, as well as the incredible kindness that people are capable of. This is a story of tragedy and survival. It was raw, gritty and inspiring. I enjoyed this story quite a bit and would recommend it without reservations to anyone that is looking for a good, historical fiction that addresses a lesser-known part of WWII history.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sabaa Tahir

    This book leveled me. I was unprepared. Beautiful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    That was sad but there was some happiness too. But some of the things put some horrific images in your head =( Mel 🖤

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kassidy

    Wow, what a beautiful, breath taking, eye opening story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》

    ⸨ Your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea, ⸩ This was my first book by Ruta Sepetys, and it won't be last. I have already bought "Between Shades of Gray", and "Out of the Easy" is on it's way. :D I am obsessed with this remarkable author. She is so inspiring, and down to earth. Most importantly, she is a powerful storyteller. I loved the way this book is written. There are 4 POVs and each chapter is about 2-4 pages long. There are no unnecessary details, which i highly appreciate. ⸨ Your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea, ⸩ This was my first book by Ruta Sepetys, and it won't be last. I have already bought "Between Shades of Gray", and "Out of the Easy" is on it's way. :D I am obsessed with this remarkable author. She is so inspiring, and down to earth. Most importantly, she is a powerful storyteller. I loved the way this book is written. There are 4 POVs and each chapter is about 2-4 pages long. There are no unnecessary details, which i highly appreciate. Every single word drove the story forward. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Since the chapters are so short sometimes we get to witness same events form different POVs, i found that very satisfying. I didn't lose interest for a second. It might seem like i cry over every book, that's because the ones that don't make me feel anything aren't even worth mentioning. Author's note : The sinking of the Gustloff is the largest maritime disaster, yet the world still knows nothing of it. I often wonder, will that ever change or will it remain just another secret swallowed by war? synopsys : 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. Characters : ⸨Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets. Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war. ⸩ I am just going to give a brief introduction but i will not go into details. That could be pretty spoilery. ⸨ I wanted to stay locked away from the pain and destruction. I didn't want to be strong. I didn't want to be the 'smart girl'. I was so very tired. I just wanted it all to be over. ⸩ Joana: Ohmygod! I freaking love this girl! She is young Lithuanian nurse. She repatriated to Nazi Germany with her family to escape capture from the Soviet Russian forces. ⸨ Not a traitor to your country. Much worse. A traitor to your soul.⸩ Florian: He is a Prussian apprentice, who stole something very valuable from Amber Room after he found out they were just using him for something he didn't sign up for. He had me right from his first chapter. I loved the way he was introduced. I adore his relationship with Emilia (it's not romantic), it's so cute how she calls him "the Knight" in her head. It was fun seeing Joana through his eyes. I didn't even want him anywhere near Alfred. I have much love for Florian. ⸨ I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself. ⸩ Emilia: A fifteen year old Polish girl, who got caught in the middle on this brutal war. I think she is my favorite of all four. Please keep in mind they are all carrying secrets, some more horrifying than others. Hers shocked me the most. ⸨ Small hairs on the back of my neck lifted in warning. This guy wasn’t a sailor. He was a sociopath in training. ⸩ Alfred: THIS MOTHERFUCKER! I hate him! Hate him so much. If it were any other book i might have put some effort into knowing him a little better, but not here! I was so afraid anytime he was around , or when anyone was left alone with him. He creeped the shit out of me. He is a sailor who adheres to Hitler's propaganda and thinks very highly of himself. He is delusional AF. He writes these creepy ass laters to this girl named "Hannelore", and everything he writes in them are lies. I knew there was something very wrong with him, and i was right.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    YOWZA SHE DOES IT AGAIN In both of Ruta's books, somehow my tears get saved until the moment I close the book, then everything I just read collapses down on me and it gets me choked up. I really really liked Between Shades of Grey because of its ending, and I was so excited to hear about Ruta's second book following non-German (mostly) WWII. I've mentioned before that i'm not a fan of books that are told by a handful of characters. I think they're hard to get into, can be confusing, and none of t YOWZA SHE DOES IT AGAIN In both of Ruta's books, somehow my tears get saved until the moment I close the book, then everything I just read collapses down on me and it gets me choked up. I really really liked Between Shades of Grey because of its ending, and I was so excited to hear about Ruta's second book following non-German (mostly) WWII. I've mentioned before that i'm not a fan of books that are told by a handful of characters. I think they're hard to get into, can be confusing, and none of them end up being fleshed out very well. This book is an example of one that takes 4 perspectives, but executes it very well-done. I loved all four of the characters for separate reasons. They all were four different pieces to a puzzle that had very distinct personalities and each fit a certain shape into the book's equation. Every character came from a different country and each had their own set of goals to accomplish, which made each perspective very compelling and I didn't like one voice over any of the others. Because each of their chapters was so short, this book zoomed by. That combined with the fact that every character had a secret that was one step away from being revealed, it kept me on my toes for the entire book. This book was equal parts heart-warming and tragic (though at times it lingered a bit on the horrific, but what else are you expecting in a book about genocide?). I adored every character and enjoyed how the book stayed true to the time-- not everyone got a happy ending. That conclusion, once again, was very memorable, and I would highly recommend this book if you like 20th century historical fiction.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    I am an emotional wreck! This is such a wonderfully evocative and poignant recount of such a dark period in human history. Sepetys has brought history to life in amongst these pages filled with pain, grief and heartbreak of the worst possible kind - that caused by other human beings. This split narration follows the lives of four young individuals and their alternate opinions and stances in the war. The year is 1945 and the civilians of Germany are fleeing for safety as Russia attacks and it appe I am an emotional wreck! This is such a wonderfully evocative and poignant recount of such a dark period in human history. Sepetys has brought history to life in amongst these pages filled with pain, grief and heartbreak of the worst possible kind - that caused by other human beings. This split narration follows the lives of four young individuals and their alternate opinions and stances in the war. The year is 1945 and the civilians of Germany are fleeing for safety as Russia attacks and it appears that Hitler's reign will soon be overthrown. All evacuees are making for port, to board one of the ships they hope will bring them to comparative safety. This is such a heart-rending account of such a bleak period of human history and Sepetys spares her readers none of the agony and chaos of the time. Through the split perspectives we get not only a complete story, but differing perspectives on the war-torn land they are communally fleeing. The reader pieces the story line together as the protagonists reveal more about themselves, as their fear over their situation grows. With the tentative reveal of their individual humanity comes an empathetic insight into the harrowing tales that emerge. We get an insight into the past horror witnessed that fills the war-ravaged survivors as they attempt to hope for a brighter future. The grace these sensitive subject matters are handled with, however, belies the bleak nature of the text and beauty can be found in the alluring and exquisite writing. This is a brutal, yet honest and necessary, historical account that manages to remain historically accurate whilst using fictional personal histories to portray it. Stunning writing, harrowing stories and venerated characters - this is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    “War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.” A Pole with a past. A Prussian with a mission. A Lithuanian with a secret. A German with issues. One ship. Three torpedoes. Nearly one year ago I read the highly acclaimed novel Between Shades of Grey. Now Ruta Sepetys is back, with another historical telling set against the backdrop of World War II. Sepety's novels often talk of dark and dangerous times, with a light and comforting to “War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.” A Pole with a past. A Prussian with a mission. A Lithuanian with a secret. A German with issues. One ship. Three torpedoes. Nearly one year ago I read the highly acclaimed novel Between Shades of Grey. Now Ruta Sepetys is back, with another historical telling set against the backdrop of World War II. Sepety's novels often talk of dark and dangerous times, with a light and comforting tone to it. Her writing style makes it easy to slip between the pages and take everything in. Her characters are heartwarming and relatable. I enjoyed Salt to the Sea in the same way that I did Between Shades of Grey: I liked writing, plot and characters, but something is always missing for me. Her stories are dramatic, cruel and most of all real, but I can never fully commit myself to the book or its characters. Side note with minor spoilers: One thing that really bugged me was the portrayal of the Germans. Yes Hitler, the Nazis and many more people sucked and will forever and always continue to do so. We had lots of "mean" Germans in the novel, but did the only German main character necessarily have to be a sociopathic, Hitler-loving ass without a single trace of character development? I would have loved to see him develop a conscience or compassion. (view spoiler)[Oh and it was great to find out about Lina's and Joana's connection! Two different books, two different stories but one family. I'm so happy for them! (hide spoiler)] Find more of my books on Instagram

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    “On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland from the west. On September 17, 1939, Russia invaded Poland from the east. I remembered these dates. Two warning nations gripped Poland like girls fighting over a doll. One held the leg, the other the arm. They pulled so hard that one day, the head popped off. The Nazis sent our people to ghettos and concentration camps. The Soviets sent our people to gulags and Siberia. I was nine years old when it started. People changed. Faces shrived and sunk, li “On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland from the west. On September 17, 1939, Russia invaded Poland from the east. I remembered these dates. Two warning nations gripped Poland like girls fighting over a doll. One held the leg, the other the arm. They pulled so hard that one day, the head popped off. The Nazis sent our people to ghettos and concentration camps. The Soviets sent our people to gulags and Siberia. I was nine years old when it started. People changed. Faces shrived and sunk, like baked apples. Neighbors spoke in whispers. I watched them play their games. I observed them when they weren’t looking. I learned. But how long could I play this game? A ploy of war both outside and inside. What would happen if I actually made it to the West? Would I be able to reveal myself as Emilia Stożek, a girl from Lwów? Would Germany be safe for me? Once the war ended, which side would be the right side for a Pole?” I’ve been looking forward to reading “Salt to the Sea” since I closed the pages on “Between Shades of Gray.” Sepetys gift for sharing the stories of these moments in history we rarely learned about, told through eyes that prefer to see only seen the good in this world. Until, until life forces them to see otherwise, but their hearts still look for that goodness in the eyes of others. The winter of 1945 was a long and treacherous winter for these souls who had left their homes and were on a long and arduous journey, on foot, ultimately to board the Wilhelm Gustloff. To evacuate their home. “Germany was finally telling people what they should have said months ago. Run for your lives.” They did not begin their journey together, but found each other along the way, the days and nights of walking through snow and mud and freezing conditions. “What a group we were. A pregnant girl in love, a kindly shoemaker, an orphan boy, a blind girl, and a giantess who complained that everyone was in her way when she herself took up the most room. And me, a lonely girl who missed her family and begged for a second chance.” Written in short, alternating chapters, sharing the four points of view of Joana, Florian, Emilia and Alfred. Joana is a caring woman, a nurse, and older than Emilia who seems to be still in her teens. Emilia is scared; needing a mother figure to replace the mother she lost as a child, and is rescued by Florian early on. Emilia needs both her knight and her nurse. Joana dreams of a reunion with her mother. “No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was.” Alfred is a socially awkward and disturbed German officer. “This was the type of man who looked at a picture on the wall and instead of admiring the photo, looked at his own reflection in the glass.” Among the other characters you will come to know and care for are the young wandering boy and the Shoemaker, or the “shoe poet”. “’The shoes always tell the story,’ said the shoe poet. ‘Not always,’ I countered. ‘Yes, always. Your boots, they are expensive, well made. That tells me that you come from a wealthy family. But the style is one made for an older woman. That tells me they probably belonged to your mother. A mother sacrificed her boots for her daughter. That tells me you are loved, my dear. And your mother is not here, so that tells me that you are sad, my dear. The shoes tell the story.” As they come together and journey together, you begin to learn their secrets, their stories. Their journey leads them to the ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, which will ultimately become the largest maritime disaster in history. On 30 January 1945, four torpedoes were pointed at the Wilhelm Gustloff from a Soviet submarine S-13. “Each torpedo was painted with a scrawled dedication: For the Motherland. For the Soviet People. For Leningrad. For Stalin.” Three of those torpedoes struck the Gustloff, one torpedo, “For Stalin,” did not launch. Approximately 10,000 people were aboard; most were civilians, including around 5,000 children. Approximately 1,000 survived. The largest maritime disaster in history. That winter, several other ships ended up in the Baltic Sea, with approximately 25,000 lives were lost in all. What was not lost is hope. The belief that humanity can rise up again and begin once more to unite in acceptance that despite our differences, that love will win.

  20. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    4.5 stars ow, my feelingsssssssss

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tran Thanh Tu

    SPECTACULAR!! 5 giant, miraculous stars!! Oh God what a beautiful masterpiece this is! I honestly don't know what to say about this for the fact that the book is so heart-wrenching and thoughtful. Throughout this one the truth reveals to oneself about what constructive consequences the war between the Russians and the Germans during World War II have caused and the tragic deaths of thousands of innocent victims, which is indeed too emotional yet truthful to bear. What a phenomenal work you have pu SPECTACULAR!! 5 giant, miraculous stars!! Oh God what a beautiful masterpiece this is! I honestly don't know what to say about this for the fact that the book is so heart-wrenching and thoughtful. Throughout this one the truth reveals to oneself about what constructive consequences the war between the Russians and the Germans during World War II have caused and the tragic deaths of thousands of innocent victims, which is indeed too emotional yet truthful to bear. What a phenomenal work you have put out there for the readers, Ruta Sepetys! You surely have my great admiration and support. “Every nation has hidden history, countless stories preserved only by those who experienced them. Stories of war are often read and discussed worldwide by readers whose nations stood on opposite sides during battle. History divided us, but through reading we can be united in story, study, and remembrance. Books join us together as a global reading community, but more important, a global human community striving to learn from the past. What determines how we remember history and which elements are preserved and penetrate the collective consciousness? If historical novels stir your interest, pursue the facts, history, memoirs, and personal testimonies available. These are the shoulders that historical fiction sits upon. When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    This book crushed me! Despite having read and learned so much about this terrible time in our world history, I am amazed that there are constantly new aspects of it I didn't know before and which continue to stun and sadden me. Salt to the Sea, in particular touched me, because it mirrored, to a degree, what my grandmother and her family experienced. My grandmother, her little brother, her widowed mother and aunt had to flee from Silesia to escape the Russians, which is similar to why the charac This book crushed me! Despite having read and learned so much about this terrible time in our world history, I am amazed that there are constantly new aspects of it I didn't know before and which continue to stun and sadden me. Salt to the Sea, in particular touched me, because it mirrored, to a degree, what my grandmother and her family experienced. My grandmother, her little brother, her widowed mother and aunt had to flee from Silesia to escape the Russians, which is similar to why the characters in this book are moving west. Where the figures in this novel are headed toward the sea and the large ships to transport them to Kiel in Northern Germany, my grandmother and her family took another route, so I was not very familiar with this method of navigating the Baltic Sea at the time and the tremendous losses of life that occurred as a result of violence, negligence and desperation. It also made me think of the refugees trying to get across the Mediterranean Sea in recent times, and the incredible losses and hardships they have suffered. Sepetys' method of telling the story from four points of view was beautifully done and effective in showing different motivations and mind sets at this impossible time. I don't want to give away anything, but throughout the book, I really had to stop myself from googling what really happened, even though I knew it was building up to something tragic. I was so attached to some of the characters, I almost didn't want the book to end, fearing what might happen. This story was heartbreaking, and if you're looking for an easy read, this is not for you. Still, I would recommend everyone read it at some point. It tells a story that is not as public as it should be, and for the sake of remembering and honoring those who fell victim to the misery and cruelty of this war, we need to learn as much as we can so that nothing like this will happen again. As I write this, I am particularly saddened by the recent slew of tragedies and acts of violence that have occurred all over the globe. A book like Salt to the Sea and countless others teach us that unity and compassion are the most important elements of being human, and the danger when those aspects are lost can change the world for the worse and set humanity back centuries. Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  23. 4 out of 5

    Norma * Traveling Sister

    Well that was enlightening, emotional, and a page-turning read! SALT TO THE SEA by RUTA SEPETYS is a Historical Fiction novel that is engaging, heart-wrenching, and a powerful read with an extremely interesting plot that grabbed my attention from the very first chapter. This was definitely another page-turner and extremely hard to put down. The last few books that I have read lately have either had an embossed dustjacket or cover and this is no exception as this one has a partially embossed dustja Well that was enlightening, emotional, and a page-turning read! SALT TO THE SEA by RUTA SEPETYS is a Historical Fiction novel that is engaging, heart-wrenching, and a powerful read with an extremely interesting plot that grabbed my attention from the very first chapter. This was definitely another page-turner and extremely hard to put down. The last few books that I have read lately have either had an embossed dustjacket or cover and this is no exception as this one has a partially embossed dustjacket as well as an embossed Stork on the actual cover. Must be some kind of theme for my reads lately! THE COVER definitely depicts an ominous read which I found extremely fitting for this novel. The details of the ship, Wilhelm Gustloff is a shockingly little-known piece of history from World War II that I am sad to say that I never knew anything about until after reading this author's work of historical fiction. Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four Secrets. SALT TO THE SEA has us following along the tale of four captivating CHARACTERS; Joana (The Nurse), Florian (The Knight), Emilia (The Polish Girl), and Alfred (The Letter Writer). I really enjoyed the format of this novel which was written in very short chapters with alternating points of view of the four characters and made me want to read "just one more chapter". I really liked what each of these characters brought to this story as well as the secondary ones throughout this book. RUTA SEPETYS delivers an unforgettable story here that was easy to follow along with the storyline and all the characters involved. To sum it all up it was a well researched, heartbreaking, enjoyable, quick and a fast-paced read with a satisfying ending. Would recommend!! Review written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading. https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aestas Book Blog

    ::: FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED ::: 4.5 stars WOAH. What an incredible book! It was vastly different than the usual books I read. I'm usually a pretty hardcore Romance genre reader, but this story swept me away! I read it in a single day and had tears in my eyes in the end (letters always make me cry) and I keep thinking about this story in the back of my mind. I just can't let go. Whenever I'm going through a major book hangover, I like to try and switch up the genre I read. Given my intense love of ::: FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED ::: 4.5 stars WOAH. What an incredible book! It was vastly different than the usual books I read. I'm usually a pretty hardcore Romance genre reader, but this story swept me away! I read it in a single day and had tears in my eyes in the end (letters always make me cry) and I keep thinking about this story in the back of my mind. I just can't let go. Whenever I'm going through a major book hangover, I like to try and switch up the genre I read. Given my intense love of reading, doing this allows me to still read, while trying something new, and yet allowing my emotions from my previous book the time to settle. So this time, I tried this book. Even though it's not the kind of book I'd usually read, something about the cover, the title, and blurb really grabbed my attention. The writing was absolutely incredible. Flawless and profound. This author is a very gifted storyteller. But her method in this book was unlike anything else I’ve ever read. Each chapter was literally only 1-3 pages long (!!) and each chapter was told from the points of view of four of the main characters (it switched each time). While it was weird at first, I caught on quickly to the rhythm and found that it totally worked for this story. In fact, I found it was astonishingly effective at portraying such a large-scale story as this, one that had so many different storylines converging in on each other, in a manner that made it completely character-driven. I genuinely loved it. The YA Historical Romance genre is nowhere near what I usually read, but I’m so glad I decided to read this particular one! It was powerful and beautifully written. 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, this bestselling and award-winning author lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope. The story begins with all these different characters, for different reasons, all trying to make their way to docks, where they hope to board a ship that will take them to safety. But in order to get there, they first had to survive a dangerous journey on land through enemy check points, under fire from all sides, in danger of becoming victims of the brutal winter, in the middle of one of the largest wars in history. A nurse. A blind girl. A shoemaker. A mysterious soldier. A pregnant teen. A delusional sociopath. A wandering boy. A devastating war. A bitter winer. Thousands of miles. One ill-fated sea voyage. The chapters are all very short like I mentioned but every single one of them packs a punch and ends strong -- which is really a testament to the power of this author's writing. The upside to this storytelling method too is that there is no fluff in the book at all. You're told everything you need to know and nothing more. Everything has meaning. And everything drives the story forward. Things get quite intense the more you read, especially when the different storylines begin to converge. It's like, you desperately want them all to stay together, and you naturally want them to get to safety and even though you know the ship is doomed, a part of you can't help but hope that it isn't. So it's like counter-intuitive. You should be wanting all their plans to fall apart so that they can be safe. It's such an interesting internal conflict to go through as a reader because you naturally want to root for their plans to work out. Now, not to belittle the value of even one human life, but I just want to put some things into perspective for you to give you a sense of scale. The Titanic (which is widely known as one of the most famously tragic maritime disasters), lost 1,503 passengers when it went down. The Wilhelm Gustloff was built to carry 1,463 people. On the day it was sunk, it was carrying 10,574. It is estimated that 9,400 people died. The Titanic took two hours and forty minutes to sink. The Wilhelm Gustloff took less than an hour. How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky. When the torpedos hit, my heart was racing. I'd just spent a huge chunk of this book getting invested in these characters lives. Characters who I knew wouldn't all be able to make it. It was beyond intense. Also, while this is absolutely not a Romance at all, there is actually a little bit of a romance within one of the storylines, and I'm just going to come out and tell you that that romance does get a HEA. I don't want you to think this is a book where everyone just dies in the end. That's not the case. There is a lot of loss. But ultimately, this is both a story of loss and survival. The ending left me with tears in my eyes. Letters always make me cry in book. And I was so surprised that my reaction at the very end was a smile on my face despite the tears... Like I said, this genre is not one I usually read or recommend from, but this particular book stood out to me and made me want to read it. If you're in the mood to read something different, or maybe if this is a genre you already love, give this a try! The sinking of the Gustloff is the largest maritime disaster, yet the world still knows nothing of it. I often wonder, will that ever change or will it remain just another secret swallowed by war? The final thing I want to leave you with is a quote from the author's note at the back of the book... Every nation has hidden history, countless stories preserved only by those who experienced them. Stories of war are often read and discussed worldwide by readers whose nations stood on opposite sides during battle. History divided us, but through reading we can be united in story, study, and remembrance. Books join us together as a global reading community, but more important, a global human community striving to learn from the past. What determines how we remember history and which elements are preserved and penetrate the collective consciousness? If historical novels stir your interest, pursue the facts, the history, memoirs, and personal testimonies available. These are the shoulders that historical fiction sits upon. When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice. Rating: 4.5 stars. Standalone YA Historical Fiction. __________________________ For more of my reviews, book news and updates: ✦ Main blog: Aestas Book Blog ✦ Facebook Blog Page ✦ Twitter ✦ Subscribe by email

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    ""A momentary quiet followed, leaving nothing but the sound of the wind and waves. We bobbed up and back, up and back, waves lapping and curling, the sound of crying filtering through the dark."" Intense and Glorified writing and character. Exceptional narration. My favorite character- Shoemaker "“I wept because i had no shoes, until i met a man who had no feet.” "That is class of writing when reader thinks whether the story is fiction or reality, Just like story line of movie- THE WORDS." Historica ""A momentary quiet followed, leaving nothing but the sound of the wind and waves. We bobbed up and back, up and back, waves lapping and curling, the sound of crying filtering through the dark."" Intense and Glorified writing and character. Exceptional narration. My favorite character- Shoemaker "“I wept because i had no shoes, until i met a man who had no feet.” "That is class of writing when reader thinks whether the story is fiction or reality, Just like story line of movie- THE WORDS." Historical reader, Highly recommended one ! Contented and Superfluous Fiction about WWII time span, It reveals all the circumstances and possessions made by Stalin and Hitler and the different community's person got affected in their own and worthwhile manner. Few lines I loved - *"I had the knight’s pack. The knight had the baby. The knight would want his pack. I wanted my baby" *"There’s a saying, ‘Death hath a thousand doors to let out life; I shall find one" *"I knew the legends of the birds. Seagulls were the souls of dead soldiers. Owls were the souls of women. Doves were the recently departed souls of unmarried girls. Was there a bird for the souls of people like me?" *"Yes, always. Your boots, they are expensive, well made. That tells me that you come from a wealthy family. But the style is one made for an older woman. That tells me they probably belonged to your mother. A mother sacrificed her boots for her daughter. That tells me you are loved, my dear. And your mother is not here, so that tells me that you are sad, my dear. The shoes tell the story."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam Silvera

    I don't read books in a day but THIS ONE GOT READ IN ONE DAY. IN HOUUUURRRRS. If you have any reservations about the multiple perspectives, trust me when I say that you're reading a book in the hands of a very capable author and you won't feel disoriented AT ALL.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Batool

    January 22: i need it. i already know its going to be perfect. edit February 12: i was right.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ❄️Nani❄️

    3.75⭐ When the survivors are gone, we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please give them a voice. Author's endnote. The ending left me with tears in my eyes and chills on my back. I felt a genuine cold chill down my spine while reading the very last few chapters. This was a heart-breaking WWII novel about a lesser-known maritime tragedy, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German ship filled mostly with civilians trying to escape the advancing Russian (or Red) Army.  The novel follows fo 3.75⭐️ When the survivors are gone, we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please give them a voice. Author's endnote. The ending left me with tears in my eyes and chills on my back. I felt a genuine cold chill down my spine while reading the very last few chapters. This was a heart-breaking WWII novel about a lesser-known maritime tragedy, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German ship filled mostly with civilians trying to escape the advancing Russian (or Red) Army.  The novel follows four teenagers from different homelands through their intertwined journeys toward the Wilhelm Gustloff, an overcrowded ship that seems to be their only hope of escaping the Red Army: Joana, a Lithuanian nurse; Florian, a Prussian with secrets of his own and a letter of passage from a high-ranking Nazi officer; Emilia, a girl with a painful past and Alfred, an incredibly misguided German who lives by the every word of the Fuehrer. What I loved most about this book (though, I'm not sure if love is the right word in this circumstance) and what makes these characters so compelling is their grief and guilt for their families and loved ones who were left behind or who died on the long hard road. The horrors and small acts of heroism we see played out and their will to survive and make it one day further towards hopeful salvation is what essentially makes them feel so achingly real and what makes this book feel like an emotional gut-punch. ✨ Expectations vs. reality: I loved this novel for the story it told (or rather what I thought it told) but not the method in which it was told. Maybe it's my expectations not meeting reality but I felt like something was missing the entire time I was reading it and it may be that I didn’t exactly get what I hoped for, which was a book that recounted the worst maritime tragedy in recorded history. And though I have no problem with character-driven books, I don't think it worked here because it detracted from the actual main point of the book. This was largely about four teenagers and their painful pasts rather than the tragedy that took place. Which only took up the very last few lines of the book right at the very end. Overall, I'm happy to have finally read this book which's been on my radar for longer than I care to remember. And though I didn't get exactly get what I'd hoped for, it was still a great read that I would recommend to any HF fan.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I really enjoyed Ruta Sepetys' new book SALT TO THE SEA. I liked the format of short chapters with alternating protagonists, and I liked that each character had a secret to reveal, but most of all, I enjoyed learning about an event of historic significance.The catastrophic torpedo strike on the Wilhelm Gustloff on January 30, 1945 was news to me as well as the OMGOSH horrific loss of an estimated 9,000 people, most of them children, more than the Titanic and Lusitania combined. With a ship capac I really enjoyed Ruta Sepetys' new book SALT TO THE SEA. I liked the format of short chapters with alternating protagonists, and I liked that each character had a secret to reveal, but most of all, I enjoyed learning about an event of historic significance.The catastrophic torpedo strike on the Wilhelm Gustloff on January 30, 1945 was news to me as well as the OMGOSH horrific loss of an estimated 9,000 people, most of them children, more than the Titanic and Lusitania combined. With a ship capacity of 1, 463 and 10,573 passengers on board (and only 22 lifeboats) it is unimaginable to envision the panic that ensued.As for the characters, most are young adults and all have an interesting story with one evil sleaze you will love to hate and one old "shoe" man who was a Good Samaritan to all.BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY remains my favorite RS read thus far, but learning about the thousands of refugees that struggled to reach freedom in the SALT TO THE SEA was definitely entertaining, worth my time and quite an eye-opener!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Sepetys does it again with this "sequel" to Between Shades of Grey. Another heart-wrenching tale of WWII involving not very well known Russian/German conflicts and the innocent people affected by them. If you are a fan of historical fiction, WWII fiction, or using up a couple boxes of tissues because of a good tear-jerker, this is a great book to check out.

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