All posts filed under: May & June

Quick and Uneasy

Salt to the Sea was definitely a quick read, but left me a little uneasy. Honestly, I wish I hadn’t known so much about the fate of the Wihelm Gustoff before reading. Because I knew that this ship, [SPOILER] the end of these fictional characters’ pilgrimage, met a terribly tragic end in real life, I read the entire book at arms-length. I fought attachment to any one story or character for fear I’d be disappointed in the end. I think this sullied my reading of the book a bit, and it’s why I wish I hadn’t known at about the great maritime disaster before picking it up.  So, for any future readers, I’d recommend not reading anything about the historical event this book is based on before you start. I think it would make for a freer (less anxious) reading experience.   “How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.”   That being said… I did like the book. Although a quick read, I kept postponing my progress. I …

picture of Salt to the Sea on a bench

Consider My Heartstrings Pulled

For years I’ve claimed to not like historical fiction. This book might be the one to change my mind. I’d heard it was wonderful, touching, a can’t miss, etc. etc., but for some reason I still put it off, fearful I’d have to force my way through. BUT, I am happy to report I was 100% wrong — I was hooked from the first few pages, and flew through the story in five days (which is fairly quickly for me). When I first started, I was worried I’d have trouble keeping track of the characters and their ever-changing perspectives. It turns out that was quite the opposite. The way Sepetys developed each character, slowly revealing their stories — and struggles — made me eager to keep reading, long past my bedtime. Each character was so compelling — yes, even, Alfred — I couldn’t help but cheer them on as they made their journey to what they hoped would be a better future. And can I just say, that last chapter (don’t worry, no spoilers!) KILLED me. …

Salt to the Sea: Devoured

I love World War II fiction. Quite frankly, I enjoy reading about World War II regardless of whether it is fact or fiction. The fact of the matter is, even novels and other works of fiction about World War II contain so many elements of truth that it feels incredibly real. Of course, I sometimes find it difficult to admit that I enjoy this type of literature, because what does that say about me? That I like reading about such an atrocious time in our world’s history. But if we never read about it, we don’t think about it. And if we don’t think about it, we are doing a disservice to everyone who was affected by it. Now that you know that little fact about me. I’ll get right to it. I loved Salt to the Sea. I knew nothing of the Wilhelm Gustloff before reading this book except that it was a German ship that sunk toward the end of the war. So this book served as something of an education for me, …

May / June Book

May and June mean school’s out and it’s almost summer! This time of year we like to read a good YA book to celebrate this liberation. Our pick this May / June was selected as the Goodreads Choice Awards winner for the Best Young Adult Fiction in 2016. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is set in the winter of 1945 when four teenagers flee four different homelands for safe passage on the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises refuge and freedom. And each of the four teenagers—Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred—harbor their own secrets which haunt them at every step of their journey. The paths of these four converge along the way when tragedy strikes. This book was inspired by the greatest tragedy in maritime history. It’s estimated that as many as 9,400 people died. Sepetys’ book sheds light on this great tragedy through the story of these four young men and women, each fighting for survival and freedom.  Sepetys said she wanted to shed light on this event… “Every nation has hidden history, countless …

Revisiting an Old Favorite

I read Perks a long time ago, sometime during my middle school years, and while I remember liking it, that’s about the only memory I have. When we chose it for our May/June read I was eager to re-read it but anxious that it wouldn’t hold up to all the “I loved that book!” comments we received. Thankfully, it did. Admittedly, it took me a bit to get back into it, but once I fell back in love with the characters I was hooked. Via letters to an anonymous friend, Charlie navigates becoming a teenager–something we all can relate to. Shy and quiet, he’s not the most popular kid in school but he soon finds a group of friends that welcome him and make him feel at home. A shy and quiet teenager myself, I was surprised Charlie and his friends didn’t have more of an impact on me when I read it in middle school. While I wasn’t quite as rebellious as he was when it came to drinking and smoking, I struggled to …