Philomel Books, 2016
Audience: All Teens
In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them 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 toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
Ruta Sepetys does it again. I loved this book almost as much as Between Shades of Grey, and much more than Out of the Easy! Characters in this book didn’t stand out as much as Sepetys’ other books and sometimes four perspectives were hard to follow. My favorite character was the least likable character because he had the most unique voice. I loved the historical fiction and I loved the element of romance. I had never learned about this event, but I know everything about the Titanic. I suppose the Titanic is more glamorous, with all of its beauty and rich passengers. There’s a lot to learn from this book, and I can see it winning many awards.