What would you do to survive in wartime? What would you sacrifice? Whom would you sacrifice? Three refugees—all teens—are on the losing side of World War II. They are struggling through the German-Prussian countryside, heading for the same destination—a German evacuation camp of civilians and wounded soldiers on the Baltic Sea. They're hoping for some kind of safety from the Russians who, coming from one direction, will kill them and the Allied Forces, coming from another direction, who could do the same. But they are not even safe from their own countrymen, because all three also have secrets. Ones they are desperate to protect. Ones that could mean they are left behind in the snow by the others to die if they are not killed by the bombs first.
Salt to the Sea is told in four voices: Joana, who wants to help everyone to make up for an evil she believes she has done; Florian, who doesn't trust anyone with the valuable and deadly secret he hides in his shoe; and Amelia, pregnant but stronger than anyone realizes (least of all herself). The fourth voice in the story is Alfred, a German soldier—a Nazi who believes in the one true race, in all that Hitler stands for, but who has the backbone of a coward. Who will make it out alive? Who will betray the others? Who will become just salt to the sea?