Children’s Book Committee – May Pick
Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
(Philomel Books, 2016)
Winter 1945, four teenagers struggle to survive before the Soviets conquer Germany. They board a ship that promises safety, but leads to tragedy. Maps and author’s note included.
Our Young Reviewer says:
Salt to the Sea avoids many of the pitfalls of a stereotypical adventure novel while retaining the elements that make young adult novels engrossing (e.g. action, suspense, and moral and ethical challenges) and while containing interesting historical information. …As the plot progresses, Sepetys avoids many tropes of the young adult genre. For example, only one romance emerges, and it feels authentic. And characters die. Of the nine main and minor characters, only four survive the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. This facet of the book is important not only because it sets the book apart from more simplistic young adult novels, but also because it reinforces the main theme that, as General Tecumseh Sherman said after the Civil War, “war is Hell!”
– Foster, 16, Anchorage, AK
See our past monthly picks.