Calendar Girls (#1 January 2018): Non North American Setting

Good afternoon, and Happy New Year! How lovely to start off the new year than with a Calendar Girls post? Ironically enough, in the shuffle of writing and scheduling posts from Christmas through the New Year, I forgot that January 1st fell on a Monday, meaning CALENDAR GIRLS! And so here we are. If you are unfamiliar with Calendar Girls events every month, check out their info page here. Thanks to Melanie and Flavia for putting this event together and engaging everyone in their monthly themes.

For those who don’t know, this month’s theme is Non-North American Setting. Interestingly enough, I have discovered that I have not read many non-North American setting books. I mean the obvious comes to mind (Harry Potter) but I can only post so much about the same book (series) before people start writing me off. But that would never happen because everyone loves Harry Potter. With that in mind though, it will definitely be a goal of mine to read more books that take place outside North America this year.

For my choice this month, I picked a book that I really really enjoyed in 2017.

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Based on “the forgotten tragedy that was six times deadlier than the Titanic.”–Time

Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. But not all promises can be kept…

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.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff—the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

(via Goodreads)


Let me just start off by saying that I really enjoy a good historical fiction, but especially, I love historical fiction written for children/teens. I feel like it is so much more vivid and I get lost much easier than I do in adult historical fiction. I read several war era books last year, but this one certainly stood out to me.

It was gruesome and brutally honest. The author did not hold anything back. No character was safe, and that was just the product of war, that was the lesson the author tried to give. While war might be interesting to learn about in history books (or make for a great backdrop to a story), it is/was hard to live through while it is happening. Anyone can fall victim to war, or illness, it is just a harsh reality.

This book was written so well, with lovable characters that you root for throughout the entire story. I highly recommend it to anyone really, but especially to people who enjoy historical fiction.


What an interesting way to start off 2018! I look forward to seeing everyone’s choices this month, and to chatting about them! Can’t wait to see what next month’s theme!


Update: Calendar Girls seems to be on a hiatus until further notice, according to event creator Melanie. She posted about it in her 2018 Plans & Goals. There has been no word about Calendar Girls from co-creator Flavia yet, though she has posted a few reviews so far this year. 

3 thoughts on “Calendar Girls (#1 January 2018): Non North American Setting

  1. I have never heard of this story. It always amazes me that there are so many stories in World War II that are either forgotten of that have never been shared. It sounds like a great read though. Awesome review, thanks for sharing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hiya, Samantha! 😀 There’s probably been no word from Flavia because I told her I would let everyone know about our decision (since I was the original inventor of CG) But I can assure you that we have been in close communication about the topic and it was mutually agreed upon. 🙂

    That being said, I’m excited you still posted! I heard a lot about Salt to the Sea last year and it was actually up for possible read-a-long with Flavia at one point so it’s exciting to see it chosen. 🙂 And it sounds like it’s YA Historical fiction (which is hard to come by). I will have to check this one out!

    Liked by 1 person

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