Article Title

Salt to the Sea


Abigail Packard


WWII, Maritime Disaster, History, Friendship, Loyalty, Outstanding, Young Adult, Ruta Sepetys

Document Type

Book Review


Joana is a nurse in training from Lithuania. Florian is a Prussian artist running from the work he did for the fuhrer. Emilia is a pregnant girl fleeing her homeland of Poland. Alfred is an enthusiastic German soldier set on enforcing the fuhrer’s standards. Joana, Florian, and Emilia end up in a refugee group that is walking through the frozen German landscape, desperately trying to survive and blend in amidst the turmoil caused by WWII. Each has their secrets, but they begin to trust and even love each other. During their struggles, Alfred composes letters in his head to his love interest about his experiences as part of the German naval force. Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred all cross paths when they board a German ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff, bound for safety. But when the ship is attacked by Russian missiles, they are forced to escape one of the greatest maritime disasters of all time. Joana and Florian manage to escape on a lifeboat, but Alfred perishes in the disaster and Emilia sacrifices herself in order to save her newborn child.