Title: Salt To The Sea
Author: Ruta Septys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Read in English
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.(Goodreads)
I heard a lot of positive things about that book but when I listened to it... it was kinda meh. I didn't dislike it but I didn't like it either. It was just relatively average.
I didn't get attached to any of the characters except maybe Florian. Joana was annoying like no other, Emelia too. And Alfred. Seriously, Alfred is the type of character that makes you feel like the author created him in the sole purpose of being pitied.
The novel has a pretty deep message and the catastrophe in itself make the book. I liked the atmosphere, the feeling of being in WWII. But it lacked emotions. It felt pretty flat, like a History book, actually. And since I really disliked the characters, it didn't help.
I see what the author tried to do through her characters, all from a different country, all casualties of the war desperately trying to find shelter until everything is over. But it's too flat despite the few cute moments. I didn't even felt like crying at the end. I was expecting to cry a river but not even a tear stung. Nothing. That was quite sad. And very disappointing.
I still liked the book. It shows the real side of the war and it doesn't make it pretty or romantic to make it accessible to a youngest public. Maybe that's why it is cold, somewhat. I don't really know...
In conclusion, it's an okay book but not what I expected it to be.