Salt to the Sea

Ruta Sepetys

fiction historical young adult
emotional sad fast-paced

393 pages | first published 2016

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.

What the community thinks

summary of 3670 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

emotional 86%
sad 83%
dark 52%
tense 40%
informative 34%
adventurous 29%
reflective 27%
challenging 24%
hopeful 9%
inspiring 8%
mysterious 5%

Pace

fast 51%
medium 48%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 55% | Character: 34% | Plot: 10%

Strong character development?

Yes: 67% | It's complicated: 21% | No: 9% | N/A: 1%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 69% | It's complicated: 27% | No: 3%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 54% | It's complicated: 24% | No: 16% | N/A: 4%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 59% | It's complicated: 20% | No: 15% | N/A: 4%

Average rating

4.3