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Communiteen Read 2024


Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is published in the U.S. by Penguin Random House and is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults worldwide. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is acclaimed for giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes, are included on over thirty state reading lists, and are currently in development for film and television. Her first novel, which chronicles the Soviet atrocities in Lithuania, has been adapted into the renowned major motion picture, Ashes in the Snow.


Book Summary

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them 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 toward safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. A tribute to the people of Lithuania, Poland, and East Prussia, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.


Winner of the Carnegie Medal
#1 New York Times Bestseller
International Bestseller


Thank you to our sponsors

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Thanks to the Beam Family Literacy Endowment Fund

and the Grandmother and CIG Endowment for their generous support.

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