*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, this is no way alters my opinion of the book.
Salt to the Sea was probably my most anticipated book of 2016, and it did not disappoint, not even for a second. Its sort of spin-off Between Shades of Gray is one of my all-time favourites, so I already had super high expectations for this.
I didn’t know where this story was going to go. I knew it was about Lina’s cousin, Joana, and that it would take place in Germany but that’s all I knew. Holy moley, people. I adore how Ruta Sepetys tells a story—it’s slow, with some ‘oh my god, pain!’ moments until suddenly you’re crying on your floor because she’s torn your heart out. Joana is an incredible character. I already knew a little about her from Lina’s perspective, but to actually read about her made me realise how amazing she is. Like Lina, she’s a strong character, especially in such difficult times. She’s a sort of mother-like figure to the other characters in the story, even though she’s younger than some of them. I loved that about her.
In this one we got to see a couple of different perspectives as well. Between Shades of Gray is told entirely from Lina’s perspective, so it was interesting to see a few different voices here. I think Ruta Sepetys is some sort of writing god when it comes to creating characters, because I fall in love with all of them. My favourite in this, other than Joana, was definitely Florian. I loved him from the beginning because he’s so different to Joana, and I loved how they played off one another. I love the supporting characters as well. Just like in Between Shades of Gray, there’s a sense of this family between the characters, even though they are all so different. I love that about her books.
I’m sad to say that I knew absolutely nothing about the Wilhelm Gustloff. It’s so sad that something like that tragedy has been mostly forgotten by the world today. On the other hand, I really love how Ruta Sepetys brings these events back to live in a way that it both beautiful and completely heartbreaking. I honestly cannot wait to reread this book again and again.
I know this review is quite short, but my breath was just so taken away by this book that I can’t think what else to say. If you want to hear more, I totally recommend Val’s review.