One of the cool things about this class is that I’ve had oodles of recommendations on books. Nothing warms my cold, cold heart like having a good reading community with a healthy amount of books being read, and this class has been just that. I try to read equal parts recommendations and equal parts random finds, and so far it’s been a strategy that’s worked well.
This week, I decided to read the highly-recommended Salt to the Sea. Everyone’s been raving about it, so naturally I had to see for myself what the big deal was. It’s historical fiction, which instantly had my interest because it’s my ALL TIME FAVORITE GENRE. I’m crazy about historical fiction, mainly because you not only have the pleasure of reading about the plight’s of characters you can find kinship with, but you can also learn a thing or two about history along the way. Double win.
This week, however, I have to add a disclaimer: I’m not yet finished with this book. I’m about 2/3 of the way there, and I’m itching to get back to it; it’s taking a considerable amount of willpower to write this post about it, but I’ll give a short summary of the action so far.
It’s WWII, and the Germans are breaking. For many, that means a surge of Russian troops occupying land, and nothing but destruction will come from it. Four people, all from different backgrounds, share one common goal: to board the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises a way out for the thousands evacuating Germany. The Soviets are advancing, and the bitter winter is in its peak; the ship is the last resort, but it’s ill-fated.
So far, this book has been everything a YA historical fiction book should be; splitting the book into chapters for each character flows well, and enough time is devoted to every character. This is a book filled with hardships and the cold reality of war, so for anyone wishing for a sunny walk-through-the-rose-garden kind of book, this isn’t it. One of the most important things it does do, though, is bring to light the story of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which was a very real ship indeed. I’ll let you Google that in attempt to keep from spoiling the book, but I think it’s already been implied that the outlook is grim.
So far I’m in love with this book. Since reading The Bloodletter’s Daughter (not a YA book, but an excellent historical fiction book if you’re looking), I haven’t been exposed to a historical fiction novel that has pulled me in and had me on edge; this does.
There will be a part 2 to this review (probably in my next IMWAYR post), so I’ll let you know my final thoughts on this one. Smooth sailing so far, everyone (get it? because it’s a sea book?)
Excuse my bad puns until next week.