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Based on true events of the time, this story follows the harrowing journey of four teenagers toward the end of World War II as they flee danger from all sides, and toward their last hope, the ship Wilhelm Gustloff. Along with ten thousand other passengers, they soon find themselves fighting for their own lives on one fateful, icy voyage. As with Between Shades of Grey, Ruta Sepetys crafts another lesser known tragedy from history into a resonating tale. It is unassuming, yet powerful; a story that will be remembered and, like The Book Thief, will be relished by teens and adults alike.— Leah
New York Times Bestseller! "Masterly crafted"—The Wall Street Journal
For readers of Between Shades of Gray and All the Light We Cannot See, bestselling author Ruta Sepetys returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.
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.
Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson's Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
Praise for Salt to the Sea:
“Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, and Michael Crouch perform mesmerizing narration worthy of Sepetys’s spectacular novel. VERDICT Libraries with even the most limited audio budgets will want to invest.” –School Library Journal, starred review
“The talented narrators excel in capturing the tone of their characters…. [They] work together to create a vivid and well-rounded reading experience, [and] bring forth the truth of the wartime experience.” –Booklist, starred review
“The four narrators (Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris and Michael Crouch) are superbly cast...The story’s plot and pacing translate beautifully to the audio medium.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
Featured on NPR's Morning Edition ♦ “Superlative…masterfully crafted…[a] powerful work of historical fiction.”—The Wall Street Journal ♦ “[Sepetys is] a master of YA fiction…she once again anchors a panoramic view of epic tragedy in perspectives that feel deeply textured and immediate.”—Entertainment Weekly ♦ "Riveting...powerful...haunting."—The Washington Post ♦ “Compelling for both adult and teenage readers.”—New York Times Book Review ♦ “Intimate, extraordinary, artfully crafted…brilliant.”—Shelf Awareness ♦ "Historical fiction at its very, very best."—The Globe and Mail ♦ “[H]aunting, heartbreaking, hopeful and altogether gorgeous…one of the best young-adult novels to appear in a very long time.”—Salt Lake Tribune
About the Author
Ruta Sepetys (www.rutasepetys.com) is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Her novels Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy, and Salt to the Sea have won or been shortlisted for more than forty book prizes, and are included on more than sixty state award lists. Between Shades of Gray was adapted into the film Ashes in the Snow, and her other novels are currently in development for TV and film. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is passionate about the power of history and literature to foster global awareness and connectivity. She has presented to NATO, to the European Parliament, in the United States Capitol, and at embassies worldwide. Ruta was born and raised in Michigan and now lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys and Instagram @RutaSepetysAuthor.
Praise for Salt to the Sea:
A #1 New York Times Bestseller
An International Bestseller
Winner of the Carnegie Medal
Featured on NPR's Morning Edition
"Ruta Sepetys acts as champion of the interstitial people so often ignored — whole populations lost in the cracks of history."—The New York Times
"Superlative...masterfully crafted...[a] powerful work of historical fiction."—The Wall Street Journal
[Sepetys is] a master of YA fiction…she once again anchors a panoramic view of epic tragedy in perspectives that feel deeply textured and immediate."—Entertainment Weekly
"[A] riveting novel . . . Sepetys skillfully weaves history into her story, here grounding her nuanced characters in the events of winter 1945. Vivid details punctuate the spare prose."—The Washington Post
"[H]aunting, heartbreaking, hopeful and altogether gorgeous...one of the best young-adult novels to appear in a very long time."—Salt Lake Tribune
"Ruta Sepetys is a master of historical fiction. In Salt to the Sea the hard truths of her herculean research are tempered with effortless, intimate storytelling, as her warm and human characters breathe new life into one of the world's most terrible and neglected tragedies." —Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Printz Award Honor Book Code Name Verity
“A rich, page-turning story that brings to vivid life a terrifying—and little-known—moment in World War II history.” —Steve Sheinkin, author of Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist Bomb
"Brutal. Beautiful. Honest." —Sabaa Tahir, New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes
"Ruta Sepetys is more than just an author — she's history's answer to CSI."—Mashable
"[A] stunning historical novel."—Hypable
* "Sepetys excels in shining light on lost chapters of history, and this visceral novel proves a memorable testament to strength and resilience in the face of war and cruelty." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered, and in turn, it tries to remember the thousands of real people its fictional characters represent. What it asks of us is that their memories, and their stories, not be abandoned to the sea." —Booklist, starred review
* "Artfully told and sensitively crafted, Sepetys’s exploration of this little-known piece of history will leave readers weeping." —SLJ, starred review
"The inevitability of the ending (including the loss of several characters) doesn't change its poignancy, and the short chapters and slowly revealed back stories for each character guarantee the pages keep turning. Heartbreaking, historical, and a little bit hopeful." —Kirkus Reviews
"Intimate, extraordinary, artfully crafted...brilliant."—Shelf Awareness
"This book includes all the reasons why teens read: for knowledge, for romance, for amazing and irritating characters. This novel will break readers’ hearts and then put them back together a little more whole." —VOYA
"Sepetys’s...scene-setting is impeccable; the penetrating cold of the journey is palpable, and she excels at conveying the scope of the losses while giving them a human face....[T]his elegiac tale succeeds with impressive research, affecting characters, and keen, often unsettling insights into humans’ counterposed tendencies toward evil and nobility. Readers will be left to discuss which impulse triumphs here." —The Horn Book