salt to the sea (ruta sepetys): book review

25 January 2017

some historical fiction novels are dense with research, overflowing with facts and names and the underlying sense of desperation running through the book, of: I did my research can you tell. yes you can tell. it’s there staring back at you within every page of carefully plucked details from the past. and I respect that – but sometimes it’s too much. writing good historical fiction is well-constructed research weaved so delicately between words that you don’t realise it is there – and that is exactly what ruta sepetys is so good at and why she consistently remains one of my favourite authors with every new book she writes: her novels are incredibly well-researched but still feel light and elegantly formed, salt to the sea is no different.
what is incredible about this book is the way sepetys is able to intertwine many different characters and points of view without making it confusing and bogged down with storylines. the way they all finally join together is masterful, yet the real beauty of the book, the writing style, is what always captures me with every one of her novels. most authors have a distinct writing style – as does ruta sepetys – but what I love is the way that this writing style transforms ever so slightly to complement each novel and create a unique atmosphere and ‘voice’ that makes the whole thing so authentic. in this one, the short chapters give this book a much needed breath of fresh air to reduce the heaviness of the topics dealt with, while they also quicken the pace of the plot, making you keep reading and reading with ‘just one more chapter’ until the whole book is finished in one sitting a few hours later.

with salt to the sea, it’s all in the details. character portrayal and development is one of the main aspects of any novel that I appreciate the most and with this one I was well-satisfied. the shoe poet, the letters, the link between this novel and between shades of gray - all creating a well-rounded piece of writing that had depth, emotion and a blend of four individual voices to connect with. if you need me, I’ll be hibernating in my room waiting for sepetys’ next book, no matter how long it takes.
publisher: puffin / publication date: feb 4th 2016 / genre: historical fiction


  1. Between Shades of Gray is my favorite book! I agree that her novel showed that she did research but the fact that she did research wasn't forced in her writing. I hope to read Salt to the Sea since it seems like it's a good novel too!

  2. *flails rabidly over your gorgeously aesthetic photos* Like why haven't I read anything by this author?? What is wrong with my life choices. It sounds AMAZING and definitely one I want to get to this year!! 😍

  3. Oh your review has made me feel so bad that I downloaded this book from netgalley and absolute AGE ago and I still have not read it. Despite absolutely loving Between Shades of Gray. I really should get a move on. Thanks for the reminder!

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