First Pages: Salt To the Sea
This was a tough one, I confess. Mostly because I’m a wimp and I don’t like to read about war, especially a real one. It’s the same reason why Mockingjay is the hardest book for me to read of The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins—it’s too real and too easy for me to imagine us in that war.
In Ruta Sepetys’ Salt to the Sea, the language is sparse and poetic and very in the moment. I’m about 40 pages in and I’m stressed the whole time. Especially as this is about World War II, and we all know what happened in WWII. But do we? I know the gist of what happened, but there are so many little stories, so many horrific things that occured that it’s hard for me to read about, I’ll admit, especially as there’s a spoiler on the back that compares this tragedy to Titanic.
I almost lost my twin to the sea, and Mini Me already told me to tell her not to read this book.
Having said that, the first pages are beautifully written, and even though I’m closing my eyes at the same time, I’m reading on. This is an important book, and so well done. I’m loving following each of the four main characters’ stories so far, even as I know that they are not all going to survive through the end. The opening prologue is riveting enough as it is—and it makes me wonder which of the main characters is speaking. My guess is Joana. But maybe it can be any of the four of them. And maybe that’s the point. Who would we become if we were faced with this same situation of survival and war?
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
First Pages note: I started the First Lines and First Pages series in November 2017 as a homage to National Novel Writing Month. In the tradition of one of my previous writing groups, I decided to 'share' the first lines of successful middle grade and YA novels in order to figure out what made them successful first pages. I posted as many as I could in November, and now post the series on the first of every month (or close to it). Please let me know in the comment section if you have any First Pages book recommendations.