Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is a Young Adult historical fiction recommended to me by my friend Joan. Although this is an excellent novel, I wouldn’t recommend it for children in grammar school or junior high.
The story is based on a tragedy which took place in the Baltic Sea during World War Two. It happened during a Nazi evacuation of refugees in effort to help them escape the rapidly approaching Russian army. This is a completely new story to me.
Sepetys’s exceptional story revolves around a group of young refugees from different countries whose paths cross as they try to escape the Russians. Each character’s personal experiences highlight different realities of war as seen through a child’s eyes. One of the traveling companions is an elderly shoemaker. He represents the voice of experience.
This story made me gasp and cry. I thought it was expertly written, but as I wrote earlier, I don’t think it is suitable for young children. I am grateful to have read it because it brought to light a story previously unknown to me. I admire this novel greatly because it is masterfully crafted. If you enjoy historical fiction, I recommend reading this novel.