My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow!! This was SPECTACULAR 🤩
I randomly came across this book a few months ago, but after a quick Goodreads search I was divided on whether or not to buy it because:
• It won a Goodreads Choice Award in 2016, which yay 👍
• Emily May, the only person I follow on Goodreads, gave it just 2 stars, which nay 👎
However, Ems and I have differed regarding her reviews before, more so when she gives a book a glowing 5 star review (The Handmaid’s Tale and Flowers for Algernon, to name but a few) and I end up not enjoying it very much/at all. There have also been instances where Ems did not like a book very much/at all, but I end up giving it 4 or 5 stars, and this is one of those instances.
The story is told in very short chapters of 2 – 3 pages and the perspective jumps between four different people, something Emily didn’t enjoy but I loved it and it was one of the major reasons I gave this 5 stars. Each of the four narrators had a distinct voice and I enjoyed getting to know how three of the four were affected by the war via the author’s use of flashbacks. I hadn’t heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff before picking up this book and historical fiction that teaches me something is always appreciated.
When I first saw this book won a Goodreads Choice Award in 2016 I automatically assumed it was for Historical Fiction. Only to learn just as I started reading it that the award was for Young Adult Fiction. That had me puzzled the entire time I was reading as I could not see how the hell this is Young Adult Fiction because the subject material is quite heavy for YA. It wasn’t until the end of the book when I read the author’s note where she wrote, “the child and young adult narrative is what I chose to represent in the novel, seeing the war through the eyes of youths from different nations, forced to leave everything they loved behind” that it made sense. That said, if you are not a fan of YA you are bound to enjoy this because it does not read like Young Adult Fiction at all.
This was my first Ruta Sepetys read and I loved it so much I now have to read her other books.
View all my reviews
** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing