We couldn’t believe our luck when Largo Public Library announced that they were hosting an event with Ruta Sepetys, so we took a drive over on Saturday afternoon to meet her.


Ruta Sepetys Author Photo

Ruta Sepetys (Rūta Šepetys) is an internationally acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over fifty countries and thirty-six languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both students and adults worldwide. Her novels, Between Shades of Gray and Out of the Easy are both New York Times bestsellers, international bestsellers, and Carnegie Medal nominees. Her latest novel, Salt to the Sea, is a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes, are included on over twenty state reading lists, and are currently in development for film and television.

Ruta is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. Born in Michigan, she was raised in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Ruta attended college to study opera but instead graduated with a degree in International Finance. Prior to publishing her first novel, she spent twenty years in the music industry helping artists and songwriters distill story through song.

Sepetys is the first American crossover novelist to address both European Parliament and Library of Congress. She was awarded The Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Resident Fellowship for Salt to the Sea.

Ruta was recently bestowed the Cross of the Knight of the Order by the President of Lithuania for her contributions to education and memory preservation. She is intensely proud to be Lithuanian, even if that means she has a name no one can pronounce.

Ruta lives in a treehouse in the hills of Tennessee.



This modern library not only houses a library, but also a lovely bookstore with an amazing used selection, cafeteria, art gallery, and teen room to name just a few of its amazing spaces.  They have truly made a space for the community in this building.

The event was set-up a little differently from most with a reception first, then signing and finally a book talk. Being extremely short on time, we rushed through this event.  The following are some of the photos we captured.

The various posters and our tickets for the event.

The facility, the reception crow, THE LINE!


Finally, we couldn’t get past these paperback versions of Salt to the Sea??  How have we never seen them before?!?



If we could have come up with unlimited categories in our International Women’s Day Awards, we would have given Ruta the YA Historian award. She is a treasure. Bringing teens in touch with history through each of her novels.