The Book: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.
My Feels: Historical fiction. I am in awe of writers who can weave a story and capture the essence of a pivotal time--like times of war. To be honest, I never knew about the tragedy that takes place in the book. So thank you Sepetys for making me fully aware.
There is so much to love about this story. The characters who all have their own story and inner turmoil that haunt them as they seek passage. The beautiful writing and different POVs. The stark truth to the horrors and atrocities that have occurred during this time. The pacing and tension, which made me blow through this book in two days. All of it was so captivating and I hope more books like this come to the YA genre.
I only wish the ending wasn't so abrupt. I found myself unsatisfied, since it felt a bit jarring. Probably because I grew attached to the characters and wanted the ending to be revealed just a little bit more. Despite my own subjective preference to the ending, I highly recommend this book, and I thank Joan for recommending it to me.