Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (non-spoiler review) // tragic, cruel and real

Book: Salt to the Sea

Rating: 4.25 stars


World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.


I don’t read it a lot, but I adore historical fiction!


So good! The pacing was slow and nice. I love how the ending is real and cruel and true. It gives the ending a finality to it that wraps up the story so well. It’s a beautiful book but I did feel it a little lacking in some places.


The writing was really enjoyable and the chapters are really short too! I read this in about three sittings! There are 4 POVs and as I said they’re short, so it really feels like you’re in the moment and experiencing things along with the characters. You can feel their pain + it’s really heart breaking reading about what’s happening to them because some of them were only around my age.


A short and captivating story of grief, guilt, survival and war.

A shorter, bullet point review can be found on my Goodreads here.


Talk To Me

Have you read Salt to the Sea? What about Ruta Sepetys’ other books? Is it on your TBR? Are your opinions the same as mine? Or are they totally different?

Until next time,

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14 thoughts on “Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (non-spoiler review) // tragic, cruel and real

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  1. Ooh, very nice review! I’ve been dying to check this out for ages, so may I ask whether you think this is comparable to Book Thief? I don’t even know if you like that book or not, but I was hoping it would be in that ballpark. Also, is it YA? I know it’s historical fiction, but I hadn’t heard whether it spans genres. (Haha sorry for bombarding you with questions! 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve read The Book Thief and I adore it! Hmm it’s in the same vein. The Book Thief was a lot longer and more fleshed out so I don’t feel like I can compare the two, but they have a familiar feel. SttS is also very character driven too. It is YA! Definitely felt a lot darker then most YA books, but that’s expected when its set in WWII. Haha no problem, hope I helped!

      Liked by 1 person

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