By Ruta Sepetys
AR level: 4.5
AR points: 10.0
I suggest 7th through 12th grade.
I first fell in love with author Ruta Sepetys’ writing in the novel Between Shades of Gray. There are times when you’re not sure your’e going to enjoy a book centered on World War II events (or events leading up to it). So much tragedy buried in those stories, isn’t there?
But Sepetys writes with urgent pacing and such wonderful hope, giving a big light at the end of the tunnel, making each book well worth it. You will not only consume the book, but you will feel like a wiser person following the experience. Both Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray are incredible stories to share with your teens.
Description from B&N:
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.