book title

The critically acclaimed author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating, yet unknown, tragedies.

author's name

A New York Times Bestseller


In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close,

and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, Florian, and Alfred, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation: the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the four find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Click to start reading.


Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. She is the award-winning, bestselling author of Between Shades Of Gray and Out of the Easy. Ruta lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.
For more information visit

fb twitter


  • Tuesday, February 2nd
  • Parnassus Books 6:30pm
    3900 Hillsboro Pike
    Nashville, TN 37215

  • Wednesday, February 3rd
  • Embassy of Lithuania 7pm
    2622 16th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20009

  • Thursday, February 4th
  • Barnes & Noble Yonkers 7pm
    2614 Central Park Avenue
    Yonkers, NY 10710

  • Monday, February 8th
  • The Book Stall 7pm
    811 Elm Street
    Winnetka, IL 60093

  • Tuesday, February 9th
  • Cambridge Public Library 6:30pm
    449 Broadway
    Cambridge, MA 02138

  • Wednesday, February 10th
  • Literati Bookstore 7pm
    124 E. Washington
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104

  • Thursday, February 11th
  • St. Charles City-County Library District 7pm
    Kisker Road Branch
    1000 Kisker Road
    St. Charles, MO 63304

  • Friday, February 12th
  • The King's English 7pm
    1511 S 1500 E
    Salt Lake City, UT 84105

  • Tuesday, February 16th
  • {pages}a bookstore 6:30pm
    904 Manhattan Ave
    Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

  • Wednesday, February 17th
  • Towne Center Books 7pm
    555 Main St
    Pleasanton, CA 94566

  • Thursday, February 18th
  • A Great Good Place for Books 7pm
    6120 La Salle Ave
    Oakland, CA 94611

  • Thursday, March 10th–Friday, March 11th
  • Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival
    MTSU campus
    1301 East Main St.
    Murfreesboro, TN 37132

  • Sunday, March 13th
  • Tucson Festival of Books
    University of Arizona
    1209 E University Blvd
    Tucson, AZ 85721

    Everyone is talking about Salt to the Sea!

    A New York Times Bestseller

    A New York Times Editors' Choice

    #1 on the Indie Bestseller List

    #1 on the Spring 2016 Kids' Indie Next List

    #1 on the LibraryReads February 2016 List

    An Amazon Best Book of the Month

    An iBooks Best Book of the Month

    A Goodreads Best Book of the Month

    A Kobo Best Book of the Month

    Tumblr Reblog Book Club Pick

    Mashable Reads Book Club Pick

    BookPage Top Ten Books of February 2016

    “The Most Anticipated YA Books of Spring 2016”

    Publishers Weekly

    “Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2016”

    “Winter 2015's Unputdownable Young Adult Picks”

    “This book leveled me. I was unprepared. Beautiful.”


    New York Times–bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes

    “Ruta Sepetys is a master of historical fiction. In Salt to the Sea, the hard truths of her herculean research are tempered with effortless, intimate storytelling, as her warm and human characters breathe new life into one of the world's most terrible and neglected tragedies.”


    author of Printz Award Honor Book Code Name Verity

    “This swift-footed, kind-hearted historical is intensely satisfying in just about all the ways a novel can be satisfying.”


    New York Times–bestselling author of Shiver

    “Superlative...Masterfully crafted...Ms. Sepetys, who so brilliantly wrote about forcible Lithuanian deportations to Siberia in 'Between Shades of Grey' (2011) here captures the stories of four young people each of a different nationality and each desperate to gain passage across the Baltic on the Gustloff, a massive German transport ship. In rotating chapters, we follow Florian, a Prussian art historian on a cryptic mission; Emilia, a Polish girl with a shameful secret; and Joana, a Lithuanian nurse half-sick with guilt—and our hearts incline toward all three...[A] powerful work of historical fiction.”

    The Wall Street Journal

    “Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray, has established herself as a master of YA fiction...She once again anchors a panoramic view of epic tragedy in perspectives that feel deeply textured and immediate.”

    Entertainment Weekly

    “The pacing is as swift as a thriller...These distinctive characters [are] so compelling...Once again, Ruta Sepetys acts as champion of the interstitial people so often ignored—whole populations lost in the cracks of history.”

    New York Times Book Review

    “This powerful novel serves as a haunting reminder of an almost-forgotten disaster and the resilience of the human spirit.”

    The Washington Post

    “With exquisite prose, Sepetys plumbs the depths of her quartet of characters, bringing each to the breaking point and back, shaping a narrative that is as much about the intricacies of human nature as it is about a historical catastrophe...This haunting gem of a novel begs to be remembered, and in turn, it tries to remember the thousands of real people its fictional characters represent.”

    Booklist, starred review

    “Sepetys delivers another knockout historical novel...[she] excels in shining light on lost chapters of history, and this visceral novel proves a memorable testament to strength and resilience in the face of war and cruelty.”

    Publishers Weekly, starred review

    “With the same lyrical prose, eye for detail, and breath-stopping ability to unfold delicate layers of characterization and theme with skillfully paced revelations, [Sepetys] presents a fictionalized World War II story based on a true tragedy...Artfully told and sensitively crafted.”

    School Library Journal, starred review

    “In this World War II story, set during the sunset hours of the terrible conflict, Sepetys effectively spins a tale that is equal parts romance, thriller, and real life dystopia — while chronicling the toll of war on ordinary people, and bringing to life the deadliest disaster in maritime history...One of the things Sepetys does so well is to move deftly between scenes of catastrophe and moments of grace that give the narrative both emotional depth and light.”

    The Christian Science Monitor

    “This swift-footed, kind-hearted historical is intensely satisfying in just about all the ways a novel can be satisfying. The four narrating characters are distinctly drawn, and the pacing trots along briskly...Historical novels can be hard to recommend to fans of contemporary, but this is no textbook. It's the natural successor to Code Name Verity: a character-driven, accessible, YA historical with all the feels you could desire.”