Salt to the SeaTitle: Salt to the Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Pages: 393 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s/Puffin

The Blurb

It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore’s The Siege will be totally absorbed. This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Ruta Sepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, brilliantly imagines their story.

The Review

Salt tothe Sea by Ruta Sepetys broke my heart.

This is a bold statement to make but there are few books that have made me emote in the same way. It is a fictional account of the real life events that happened during the Second World War. It is a story of how people of different nationalities – most of who were opposed to each other due to their countries government ruling – come together in times of adversity.

Sepetys explores the frailty of life and the spirit of human nature in Salt to the Sea. At times I had to remind myself to breathe because the story had me gripped. It truly is an astounding novel and a very real contender for this year’s Carnegie Greenaway award for which Salt to the Sea has been nominated.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is available now.

For more information regarding Ruta Sepetys (@RutaSepetys) please visit

For more information regarding Penguin Random House UK Children’s (@RHKidsUK) please visit

For more information regarding Puffin Books (@PuffinBooks) please visit

For more information regarding The CILIP Awards (@CILIPCKG) please visit

5 Stars

Hold Me CloserThe Blurb

Larger-than-life character Tiny Cooper, from the bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, finally tells his own story the only way he knows how – as a stupendous musical.

This is the full script of Hold Me Closer, the musical written by and starring Tiny Cooper, from the New York Times bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by David Levithan and John Green.

Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends. David Levithan is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels for young readers including Every DayWill Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), Invisibility (with Andrea Cremer) and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn), which was turned into a feature film.

He’s the editorial director of Scholastic Press, and has edited hundreds of books including the mega-hits The Hunger Games and Shiver. David lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The Review

I was drawn to Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story – A Musical Novel (from no own it will be referred to as Hold Me Closer) because I adore David Levithan’s writing style – my favourite book of his being Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. What I have always liked about Levithan’s writing is that he isn’t scared to be different. Whether this comes in the form of multi-narrative perspective or dictionary definitions, Levithan is – for want of a better way to describe it – a brave writer.

Hold Me Closer is told entirely in script form. In fact, it is written like it is a musical script. Now, I broke my rule with this book and read Hold Me Closer first. Hold Me Closer is the companion novel for Will Grayson, Will Grayson and in my silliness I read them the wrong way round. It will be interesting for me to see the narrative format.

Tiny Cooper’s story is a sweet love story and what is interesting is that I have found with David Levithan is that he tends to write his LGBT characters in a way that is not stereotypical or clichéd way possible. Therefore, it is interesting to see that Levithan used the musical platform – one that tends to be associated with camp gay men – to tell a story of someone who doesn’t necessarily conform to that stereotype. Well done, David Levithan!

Overall, the story of Tiny Cooper is unashamedly lovely. It tells you to get your heart broken and enjoy it, grown from it and learn from it for the next time. Hold Me Closer is a story that will leave you with a big smile on your face.

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story – A Musical Novel by David Levithan is available now.

Follow David Levithan (@loversdiction) on Twitter.

The Blurb

Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?

Everything, Everything is about the thrill and heartbreak that happens when we break out of our shell to do crazy, sometimes death-defying things for love.

The Review


I mean, just wow.

Everything, Everything is unlike any book that I have ever read before.

Everything, Everything is about eighteen year old Madeline Whittier who is unlike your normal teenager. She has never been to school, doesn’t spend time with her friends of a weekend and has never gone even a little bit crazy. This is because Madeline has no immune system.

She is constantly monitored by a nurse; her mother has control over her well being and spends her time looking after her. Maddie is schooled via Skype. But to Maddie this is normality. It is only when Olly moves in the house next door that Madeline realises that maybe, just maybe she can have a bit of different normality.

Ok, now that I have that oxymoron out of the way, let’s talk about Everything, Everything. This book is phenomenal. Now I don’t like to hyperbolise things so I genuinely mean what I say here. It. Is. PHENOMENAL.

Yoon has masterfully created a world that is almost oppressive to read about. I felt Madeline’s frustrations, her claustrophobia and her desire for something more. I would hate to live a life that in fact wasn’t being lived at all. I actually felt myself clawing at my throat to get more air.

Everything, Everything is one of the best books that I have read in 2015 if not ever. You must read this.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is available now.

Follow Nicola Yoon (@NicolaYoon) on Twitter.

Everything Everything