Mock Printz 2022 discussion

Mock Printz 2017 > March: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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message 1: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Friebel (jenna_friebel) | 86 comments A lot of buzz about this one, and from a popular author known for her wonderful historical novels. Is Salt to the Sea Printz worthy?

message 2: by Jan (new)

Jan | 4 comments I think it's definitely Printz worthy.

message 3: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Friebel (jenna_friebel) | 86 comments Jan wrote: "I think it's definitely Printz worthy."

Jan, what aspects make it Printz worthy in your mind?

I read it as an ARC and have a terrible book memory, but I did really love this story. As far as Printz criteria, the things that stood out to me were setting- a truly immersive historical, telling an unfamiliar story in a familiar era- and voice- each of the four different voices felt really distinct. It could have been a total mess with how short the chapters were and quickly moving from one perspective to the next, but it completely worked for me. Although I know this didn't work for other people.

message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 37 comments I'm thinking this will likely be a candidate for the Scott O'Dell award this year.

message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wilsman | 42 comments I am listening to the audio and it is excellent so far.

message 6: by Sean (last edited Mar 06, 2016 11:41PM) (new)

Sean Dowie | 10 comments I don't know, guys...

While I applaud Sepetys for writing an important, under-explored story without degrading into sentimentality, I had some major flaws with this book.

1) The decision to make the chapters so short was a brave move (I respect ambition), but it didn't work. Just when I was starting to get pulled into one character's situation, the chapter ended, and I was left cold. Constantly. It's like leaving a date just when you're starting to feel a spark, over and over again.

2) The characters' mindset were over-described -- even when their goals hadn't changed, we would be privy to their unchanged thoughts. This made the book feel bloated and repetitive.

3) The only character I was interested in was Alfred. I wouldn't say I liked the guy, because he's not a very nice fellow, but he had the most interesting backstory, motivations, and voice. The other characters had one or two interesting things about them, whether it was their troubled past, or the macabre situations they were embroiled in, but they were also so... vanilla

I did think there were some smart metaphors and observations in the book -- unfortunately, it was mired in repetition and blandness. Also, the ending was a light punch to the gut. It just came a little too late.

I don't think it's Printz worthy.

message 7: by Reving (new)

Reving | 53 comments Just finished this and I really liked it- but I unashamedly admit, I didn't understand the letter at the end at all! Who was the author? Who was that person? Private message me if you feel this would be a spoiler! Please help!!

message 8: by Jan (new)

Jan | 4 comments Jenna wrote: "Jan wrote: "I think it's definitely Printz worthy."

Jan, what aspects make it Printz worthy in your mind?

I read it as an ARC and have a terrible book memory, but I did really love this story. As..."


Don't know if I can add much or anything to what you wrote here. You just nailed it with your review. Everything I would have mentioned about why I felt it was Printz worthy you have said so much more eloquently than I could have. I totally agree with everything you wrote.

message 9: by Mandy (new)

Mandy (mandysouthgate) | 17 comments Hi! This is the first time I'm reading a book with this community - thank you for the recommendation.

I really enjoyed the book and finished it in two days. I'm not completely familiar with the Printz award but am familiar with YALSA and their award for reluctant readers.

I'd say Salt to the Sea would be a contender because of the unique point of view - I've read many WWII tales but rarely from an Eastern European point of view. I also thought it would be a great starting point for discussions on the Syria war and the refugee crisis. Finally, if judged on literary merit alone, I think the use of similes and metaphors make it a contender but the short paragraphs might actually detract from it.

message 10: by Mary (new)

Mary | 11 comments I listened to Salt to the Sea on audio. The narrators of the full cast Book on CD were outstanding. I am a huge fan of Sepetys and she continues to excel in her writing in this moving historical fiction novel. I learned a lot from this book and when that happens I am grateful. Deciding what is Printz worthy is always a gamble but this book on the plight of refugees escaping the brutality of war is my vote for one of the best YA books of the year.

message 11: by Tina (new)

Tina Dalton (vulcangirl) This is my first time reading a book by Sepetys--blasphemy, I know. As a YA librarian, I should have read Shades of Grey by now, and after reading Salt to the Sea, I most likely will. I loved it. I felt each character had a unique voice. I loved the way the multiple viewpoints wove the story together. I always love reading a historical fiction about a facet of history that I was previously unfamiliar with. I do agree with Sean-- I found the chapters a tad bit too short, but perhaps that choppiness was part of the overall chaos of the experience.

Although I loved this one, I will be surprised if it wins the Printz. My sole reasoning for this is that books I love never win the Printz :)

message 12: by Heather (new)

Heather Booth (heather_booth) | 2 comments I also listened to it, and thought it was an extraordinarily well performed audiobook. Perhaps that's why the short chapters didn't bother me at all. The four different voices all felt equally important, and I liked seeing the same scene through different characters' eyes. I would be surprised to see it on the Printz list, but I will be heartily recommending it to my teens!

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Wilsman | 42 comments I will jump on the audio bandwagon - I thought it was outstanding

message 14: by Laurene (new)

Laurene | 2 comments Loved the fast pace movement of the novel. Loved the different perspectives of the characters. I think it is absolutely prize worthy.

message 15: by Reving (new)

Reving | 53 comments Def Printz worthy in my humble opinion!

message 16: by Lily (new)

Lily | 6 comments It sounds as though my opinion might be different if I had tried the audio instead.. but I didn't, and I was not a fan of the short chapters at all. I felt much the same way Sean described in his commentary, that every time I felt like I was getting into the meat of a character's story the chapter would end and I was left feeling distant.
On another hand, though, the short chapters added to the chaotic and confusing nature of the story portrayed in the novel.

Not worthy enough of the Printz for me.

message 17: by Emma (new)

Emma (emmartorr) | 5 comments This is my first time posting in this group, a bit behind because I had to wait to get this book from the library for a long time.

I agree with Sean. The short chapters helped to make this a quick read, but it pulled me away from the characters so I never connected with them. I think the short chapters actually disguised the fact that there wasn't much to connect with in the first place. Maybe if more backstory was revealed earlier on I would have felt more of a connection, but the mere hints at their secrets and troubled pasts weren't enough. Then, by the time their histories were fully revealed, I couldn't muster up the emotion to care. I also felt that some of the chapters, particularly Alfred's, were just padding. He had no character development and his letters basically served to tell (with very heavy-handed foreshadowing) rather than show the plot.

I didn't know about this event in history before reading this, so I'm thankful for that. But, I don't think this one has enough literary merit to qualify for the Printz.

message 18: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey (librarybonanza) | 5 comments In general, I read a bit slower and I actually really enjoyed the short chapters. In my mind, I could easily connect the separated stories because it moved fast. For junior high kids especially, the action felt steady and the thrills were exciting. Not being a big fan of historical fiction myself, this book and its plot felt like it moved like a science fiction book, relying more on plot than character. Because most Printz awards are given to character heavy books, it'll be interesting to see where this lands. I'll definitely be recommending this to my kids, though.

message 19: by Mary (new)

Mary | 1 comments I loved the audio too. I just loved Alfred. He was such an idiot, I found myself chuckling.

message 20: by Anne (new)

Anne (headfullofbooks) | 80 comments I just finished this book yesterday (a little late to the party, eh?) and I was not so sure if it had Printz-qualities until the last 10-20% of the book then I thought, OK, this could end up on the Printz table for discussion. I agree with the reviewer above that commented on the short chapters and wondered at them. I found it confusing at first when so little was revealed about the characters and we just learned things in dribs and drabs. I wish the book was written in 3rd person omniscient so we could know everything without the skipping around...though if she had done that we wouldn't have been inside the creepy Alfred's head. Ha!

message 21: by Mary HD (new)

Mary HD (marymaclan) | 82 comments (taken from our reading suggestions thread)

Read an ARC of Salt to the Sea: Its strength was in the development of the various characters, German/Polish/Latvian refugees fleeing desperately from Russian soldiers intent on revenge at the end of WWII. Tragedy ensues just at the point when the characters think they have reached safety. Who will survive? The reader cares.

The story was recounted through the various characters' points of view. I found the transitions from one character to another a bit clunky sometimes, and wonder whether they were smoothed out in the final editing.

Sepetys seems to be carving out a distinctive literary niche. Hope her focus on Russia and the Baltic continues; powerful stories to be told.

message 22: by Maureen (new)

Maureen (mhsquier) | 79 comments I loved this book. It is so meticulously researched; I was a history major, and still had out a map of the World War II battles.

I definitely feel it is Printz-worthy. Here's the link to my full review -

message 23: by Tara (new)

Tara (tjwill) | 6 comments I absolutely loved this book! The characters were so vivid and all had secrets. The historical tragedy was told in such heartbreaking detail. This was a powerful story about survival and the importance of human connection. Definitely Printz worthy!

message 24: by elissa (new)

elissa (librarianbodyworkerelissa) | 52 comments I agree that this is very likely to win awards in January! The research and writing is incredible. It took me a long time to read, only because it was so intensely real.

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