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Salt to the Sea

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August is the eldest child of the Kleist family, which took Emilia in on their farm in East Prussia. When he visits home he defends Emilia from his mother's cruel treatment. Emilia likes August. When Russian soldiers rape and impregnate her, she invents a story to make it easier to deal with. She says the baby is August's and that she is on her way to meet him. Martin Kleist In 1945, the Second World War is drawing to a bloody end. For the German people and their surrounding allies, it is a time to flee from the approaching Russian army, whose terrifying reputation for rape and slaughter precede them. Throughout the journey to the evacuation ships, the refugees get to know one another. It is revealed that Emilia is eight months pregnant after an assault by Russian soldiers; Florian, the restoration artist, is on the run for stealing a piece of art from the Amber Room; and Joana feels responsible for some of the deaths of her family. By the time the group reaches the evacuation ships, their relationships are solidified. It is clear that Joana and Florian have fallen in love, and Emilia sees Florian as a symbol of good men.

Salt to the Sea | BookTrust

It’s a letter from the doctor in Insterburg saying you’re good at dealing with blood and guts, Joana. I’m sorry, but I don’t call that an opportunity,” she said.Alfred is the German ‘soldier’ who you just want to slug. You know you were thinking it too. Alfred is an entitled, weak, and self-disillusioned young man in Hitler’s army.

Salt to the Sea Study Guide | Literature Guide | LitCharts

Salt to the Sea is a 2016 historical fiction young adult novel by Ruta Sepetys (book cover illustration and design by Matt Jones i UK). It tells the story of four individuals in World War II who make their way to the ill-fated MV Wilhelm Gustloff. The story also touches on the disappearance of the Amber Room, a world-famous, ornately decorated chamber stolen by the Nazis that has never been recovered. Sepetys, for me, writes some of the most detached accounts of WW2 atrocities. It honestly shouldn't be that hard to evoke sympathy or some feeling for these poor people, but I genuinely felt nothing. You know those expendable people that get gunned down in movies while the hero runs from the bad guys? The ones who the camera brushes over and we never think about again? That is how I felt when learning of all the casualties and brutality in this book. The story is told from four points of view: Joana is a Lithuanian refugee who was allowed to resettle in Germany; Emilia is a pregnant teenager who escaped the genocide that wiped out many of her fellow ethnic Poles and is trying to remain off the radar of roving German soldiers; Florian is a former art restorer from Prussia who is smuggling a priceless statue he has stolen from the Nazis as revenge after they killed his father; Alfred is a delusional Nazi soldier working on the Wilhelm Gustloff.

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H]aunting, heartbreaking, hopeful and altogether gorgeous…one of the best young-adult novels to appear in a very long time.”— Salt Lake Tribune

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