Monday, February 6, 2017
It was my turn to select a book for my neighborhood book club, and after much deliberation, I chose Sepetys' awesome 2016 YA novel about 4 characters and their journey through Prussia to reach the Wilhelm Gustloff ship in 1945. SALT TO THE SEA
Sepetys does a wonderful job telling the story from the four different points of view - Joana, the Lithuanian nurse; Florian, the Prussian apprentice; Emilia, the quiet Polish girl; and Alfred, the sailor.They were escaping the Russians, escaping the Germans, escaping their own pasts. They didn't know they were headed for one of the worst maritime disasters in history.
The response from my Book Club was really positive - they liked the story and really loved learning about a page from history that they hadn't heard of. I would recommend this book for a variety of ages, and would make a great choice for a mother/daughter teen book club.
Said author M.T. Anderson of the story, "once again, Ruta Sepetys acts as champion of the interstitial people, so often ignored - whole populations lost in the cracks of history."
This page has a great photo of the Wilhelm Gustloff and an interview with Sepetys
NPR - More Died on This WWII Ship Than on the Titanic and Lusitania Combined
Click here for this awesome Penguin Random House video of Sepetys discussing why she chose this subject to write about (about 8 minutes long) Totally worth sharing with your group.
Ruta Sepetys Discusses Salt to the Sea
Penguin Discussion Guide & Questions