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Sepetys, Ruta.
New York : Philomel Books, 2016

(5 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

This is the story of four young adults whose lives intersect during a horrible time.  It is 1945 and they are all involved in World War II.  And they all have something to hide.  Florian is a Prussian who is carrying something precious and in fear of getting caught.   Joana is a 21-year-old Lithuanian who has had some medical training and is being pressed into service as a medic.  Emilia is 15 and from Poland.  If they get caught, Emilia will be killed.  And finally there is Alfred, a German soldier who writes letters back home that exaggerate his role in the war.  The fate of all four converge as they board a boat that is taking refuges to safety.  This novel is based on a little-known event in history.

Booktalk #2

In the beginnings of Hitlerís downfall, four young people from four very different backgrounds converge together in a march to the sea in hopes of catching a ride on a cruise ship to escape the fast approaching, terrifyingly brutal Russian army. Each chapter is from one of the fourís point of view. A frightened fifteen-year-old who only speaks Polish. A Lithuanian nurse who tries to help as many others as she can while still saving herself. An ambitious but strange German soldier who feels his work is vital to Hitlerís success. A German boy with artistic talent and forgerís skills on a secret mission to steal from the Fuhrer. This story is based on actual events from history, and not all of the participants will survive! (Pennsylvania Young Readerís Choice Award 2017-2018)

Booktalk #3

The paths of four teenagers from different homelands converge during their escape from the violence of WWII. Follow their journey in this rich historical fiction novel as it retells one of the greatest and least known maritime tragedies of this time through the eyes of these diverse characters. (Florida Teens Read (FTR) 2017-2018)

Booktalk #4

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many 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 to safety. (New Hampshire Flume Teen Award, 2018)

Booktalk #5

Although few people have heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff, it was one of the most devastating naval disasters in history; more than 9,400 people died when the ship was torpedoed. From the point of view of four teens, we see this tragic event unfold. Three teens are attempting to escape, one is a seaman on the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship meant to take refugees and wounded to safety. (Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award, Rosie Award, 2018)

SUBJECTS:     Historical fiction.
                        Refugees -- Fiction.
                        World War, 1939-1945 -- Fiction.

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