Posted in book review

#29 Salt to the sea


Salt to the sea by Ruta Septys was my last book from this year’s Carnegie list. Talk about saving the best ’til last…

The story opens in 1945, with a mismatched bunch of refugees trekking across the unforgiving, frozen, barren landscape. All with different stories, different fears, terrible secrets, but with a common aim; to escape the approach of the Russian army. Their aim? The coveted Wilhelm Gustloffa ship that promises to save them.

I’m always really keen to read anything set in World War I or II. It’s a real test of an author when they have to deal with a subject matter so heartbreaking, so real, particularly when it’s pitched to a YA audience. Creating a story that isn’t overwhelmingly depressing, but doesn’t gloss over the horrors, the truths, is a difficult feat. I’ve read some crackers over the years: The book thiefMausPrivate Peaceful, All the light we cannot seeto name but a few. Fantastic books should make you a bit uncomfortable.

I’ve never read a book about refugees in Russia. I knew nothing. I do now. I adored this book. It completely consumed me in the two days it took for me to finish it. I loved and hated some of the characters with a passion.

What shone through though was the sheer amount of research that Ruta had done to bring this tragedy to life. I’d never even heard of the disaster- more people died than in the Titanic or Lusitania- how is it possible that it can just disappear from history? An absolute travesty. As she says:

“When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice.”

I cannot rate this book highly enough. 5/5

My Carnegie 2017 predictions (I know I’m cutting it fine!):

Winner: Salt to the sea 

Amnesty honour: The bone sparrow

#CKG17 #BestChildrensBooks



A self-confessed book nerd and lover of libraries, new to blogging.

One thought on “#29 Salt to the sea

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