It’s hard to review books that depict real, often horrific events. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is such a book. It’s a historical fiction novel based on the wreckage of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military transport ship which was sunk on the 30th of January, 1945. By one estimate, a total of 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.
Salt to the Sea is a young adult novel, very similarly written to Sepetys’ other book, Between Shades of Gray. Simple, short sentences. Even some of the characters reminded me of that book, and the story of Between Shades of Gray main character Lina is also woven into this book, albeit a bit haphazardly.
“Just when you think this war has taken everything you loved, you meet someone and realize that somehow you still have more to give.”
Because this book contains four different POV’s, it was hard for me to get into the story. We usually only stayed with one character for two or three pages, and sometimes even less. This, in combination with the simple language, made it hard for me to connect to any of the characters. Just as I was getting into one story, we were jumping to the next. And the first three quarters of the book, I had the feeling that we were still at the very beginning of the storyline. Continue reading “Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys”
Title: They Both Die At The End
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary/magical realism(?)
Publication date: September 5th, 2017
On September 5, a little after midnight, DeathCast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
In They Both Die At The End, Adam Silvera reminds us that life cannot exist without death, and love cannot exist without pain.
The book is set in a contemporary New York City in 2017. However: one element is different from this world compared to our own. The existence of DeathCast, an organisation that figured out when people are going to die and calls them on their ‘End Day’ to let them know.
The story opens with Mateo, that gets the infamous call. Almost instantly you feel sorry for him, because Mateo understandably doesn’t feel like his life is finished, as he’s still a teenager. Mateo doesn’t have much of a social life and downloads the Last Friend app. He gets a few messages from people that are up to no good – I liked that Silvera took the time to explore the sociocultural constructions of society and life around his alternate reality. There were a lot of things available for consumption around the Death-Cast app which made it feel that much more realistic.
Then the story then starts switching POV’s when Rufus comes in the picture. By the way, I haven’t seen many people talk about this but Rufus says a lot of ‘yo’ and ‘we out’ in this book, which I guess is to make him sound more ‘hood’? It felt forced and stereotypical. Mateo and Rufus meet up and start hanging out, knowing that for the both of them, this is their last chance to do what they want, say goodbye to loved ones and tie loose ends together.
“Maybe it’s better to have gotten it right and been happy for one day instead of living a lifetime of wrongs.”
Continue reading “Book Review: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera”