Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys || Poignant and Heartbreaking…

Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Standalone
Genre: Historical, [Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Format: 391 pages, Paperback
Published: February 4th, 2016 by Puffin
Source: Borrowed
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across East Prussia, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. 

This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Ruta Sepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, brilliantly imagines their story.


Salt to the Sea had a predictable ending yet the whole story was unpredictable as hell. I spent the whole afternoon crying after finishing this book. It was raw and realistic and knowing that this actually happened made it more heartbreaking.

“Guilt is a hunter.
Fate is a hunter.
Shame is a hunter.
Fear is a hunter.” 

The book is narrated in 4 POVs of Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred as we follow their journey during World War II to the German ship, Wilhelm Gustloff that would take the refugees to a safe land. We see a world torn in war and the people who suffer the most are the innocent ones. It was not an exception here as well.

“What had human beings become? Did war make us evil or just activate an evil already lurking within us?”

The book started off slowly, letting us sink into the war-sicken world where everyone was ready to do anything for their survival. Florian was a soldier on the run with a secret, Joana a nurse threatened by guilt and Emilia, the youngest of the three but pregnant and Polish, if anybody found out about her real identity, she would be dead in seconds. The three of them along with a few others make their journey to their only ray of hope, the Wilhelm Gustloff not knowing about the terrible fate they were going towards. It’s a no-brainer how this book was going to end, but it still hurt like hell!

“War had bled color from everything, leaving nothing but a storm of gray.”

There were various other characters but the shoe-poet left an impression even after I turned the final pages. His words of wisdom were something that should never be forgotten. But Alfred was a character I detested, I didn’t like his chapters but his role becomes prominent in the last quarter of the book. He lived in his own world, he was dumb and self-centred and he got what he deserved in the end.

The war was described vividly through the eyes of the common people and what they had to face. People were being killed mercilessly and there was danger in each step. Everyone had a heartbreaking story, but Emilia’s just broke my heart. Even though that wound was something never to be healed but Joana made her realise the importance of life.

“When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice.”

And I will be eternally grateful to the author for giving them a voice.

Everything speeds up in the last quarter of the book. I was actually pretty afraid to move forward because I was dreading the ending. Everything just turns upside down. Every single thing. The sinking of Wilhelm Gustloff just broke my heart, I had to stop so many times because I just couldn’t stop crying. The Germans had done terrible things to the Russians but killing a shipload of innocent people, in turn, was not the answer. Actually, war is never the answer. It only takes, it doesn’t give anything back and you are left with a hollow and emptiness forever. And it’s the 21st century now, people still don’t get it.

Overall, Salt to the Sea was an eye-opening experience since I was unaware of the incident which was the most disastrous in maritime history. What made this book a fast read was because each of the POVs was pretty short, rarely 1 to 2 pages and we got to see the 4 characters and the things going around them from their respective point of views which made the story progress with an equal flow. I think this is a book everyone should read in their lifetime.

P.S. The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff is the deadliest disaster in maritime history, with losses dwarfing the death tolls of the famous ships Titanic and Lusitania. On January 30, 1945, four torpedoes waited in the belly of Soviet submarine S-13 which ultimately led to the demise of more than over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board.

Recommend it?

Yes.


So guys, have you read this yet?Is it in your tbr?

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli || Where Every “Side” was Relatable!!

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: Paperback
Published: April 11th, 2017 by PUFFIN
Source: Purchased
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love- she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?


Can I tell you guys how much this book was relatable? Like on a cosmic level, surpassing the intergalactic milky way and crash landing on my heart.

Okaaaaay, that was too much but it’s the truth.

I think I am the probably the last person on this planet to pick this book up so late. Being an International blogger plus being broke sucks. Big time.

Anyways, onto this beautiful, relatable unrequited book. Uh… I literally felt I was in Molly’s shoes. Except for the twin sister part (which I had always wanted… ask my mom if you don’t believe me) and the romance part. Anyway, you get the point. I don’t know what Molly would say if she knew about my life. I dunno whether to laugh or cry at that but I’m okay guys. I’ll live. 😂😂

The Upside of Unrequited is a character-centric book which revolves around Molly along with her family and friends. There are so many things that I loved about this book and it really made me want to feel more comfortable in my own skin.

The Family Rep!

There are sooo rare YA books that mention parents and a good one at that. Molly and her sister, Cassie has the two best freaking moms in the whole universe along with their little brother, Xavier (who’s sooo cute!!). I loved the bonding between the moms and Molly and Cassie, it was filled with genuine warmth, love and care. I mean you could literally feel the vibe radiating from the pages dude…

And I adooooooored the relationship between the two sisters, God knows how much I long for that but I really loved that they were sister cum best friends. Of course, they had to go through up and downs in their twiny relationship but in the end, they mattered to each other the most and that was enough. And that brings me to the character growth was which tremendous and I absolutely loved it! The readers can see how Molly grows throughout the whole book and finally finds a firm place to stand on.

Body Positivity!

One of the things that I loved the most about Molly was that she was comfortable in her own skin. She calls herself fat (I PREFER THE WORLD FLUFFY THOUGH) in the book, but she doesn’t have a problem with that. But when other people body shame you, how much you’re okay with yourself, it’s still going to hurt a little bit. I know from my own experience (See! I told you I related with this on a cosmic level). There are so many body positivity movements but there are still people who body shame, when will they understand how much they lower the self-confidence of the other people. Do they even care? I dunno.

But I am proud to say I finally have a group of friends (ARMYs) who love and support me for who I am. But yes, I’m trying to lose my weight as I earlier said in another post because of my health-related issues, not because society thinks I do not fit in their norms. God! I told you I hate society! Anyway, I digress.

But one thing I can’t help but agree is that Molly’s thinking process is quite similar to mine. She sometimes overthinks simple things, is awkward at times and seriously bad at taking things anywhere with boys (I am living example of that) but her thoughts about guys never liking her back because she was fat, I somewhat agreed with it. I know, I know, I don’t believe that because I have plenty of beautiful examples of couples but I think there’s still that 1% doubt because I haven’t come across a guy like that till now. Even for a friend, and that is seriously disappointing.

This world needs more feminist boys too.

The Romance!

It was kind of exciting to see Molly finally admitting she actually liked a guy instead of just keeping it on her crush list. Cassie’s personality was the total opposite Molly and when she met Mina, they just clicked though I could feel what Molly was feeling, she wanted something like that but she didn’t want to float away from her sister too. I loved the fact how maturely, in the end, they talked it out. Anyway back onto the adorable romance.

Reid was such a goofball. It was definitely hard not to fall for him. (Why are there no goofballs here? Moi needs some goofballs in life.) I guess when you like the person and finally feel comfortable with the other, it’s easier to be open with them. That’s how Molly and Reid’s friendship started out. Goooood, I wanted them together from the first moment they met but it took some time. A loooot of time but I was perfectly okay with it. Those two are one adorably beany couple I love to death!!

Overall,

The Upside of Unrequited was a beautiful and relatable book which touched my heart. I fell in love with the characters, they were layered and dynamic and I loved how each of them was there for the other. I was seriously beautiful. Although there were some cliched moments that didn’t matter much because the sweetness of this book consumes you (on a cosmic level yo!). The writing flowed smoothly and was easy to read and the pace was even throughout the book. I am definitely, eagerly wait for Becky’s next book!

Recommend it?

Yes!!


So guys, have you read this book yet? What did you think about it? Is it in your tbr?