Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Posted August 4, 2014 by lockhartbecca in Uncategorized / 2 Comments

Between Shades of Gray

Author: Ruta Sepetys
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Speak
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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from Goodreads:
Lina is just like any
other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets
crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home,
tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father,
forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young
brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp
in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders,
to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting
events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s
prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing
journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible
strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of
is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
This novel was a
breathtaking and heartbreaking look at a portion of history that, I am sad to
say, I knew nothing about. I think that’s what broke my heart the most. That I
didn’t realize that while Hitler was committing his atrocities in Germany and
Western Europe, Stalin was doing the same in Russia and the Baltic nations. Why
is this not taught in schools? Ruta Sepetys, you have my thanks for informing
me about this tragedy.
This story follows
Lina, a young Lithuanian girl who is dragged from her home and forced into a
life no human being should ever have. She and her family are treated like
animals. Forced into cramped train cars, starved, and beaten. Tears were
running down my face at the very first page. And the emotions didn’t stop
This whole book was a
roller coaster of emotions. Lina was such an amazing young woman. She is strong
and courageous and inspiring. I don’t know that I could have ever endured what
Lina did. But she pushed forward and she never lost hope. That’s the part that
gets me. She never once loses hope. She believes that her father will find
them. She believes that everything will be okay. She is there to help her
mother and to take care of her brother and she never once gives up. That kind
of strength brought me to tears and made me sit back and evaluate my own life.
Everyone should read
this book. It should be taught in schools. Not only does it teach the reader
about a time in history they may not know about, but it will also teach the
reader to appreciate their life for what it is. To be more grateful for the
things they have. To not complain about petty things so much. And most
importantly it will teach the reader to never lose hope, to never give up,
because, no matter how bad it gets, the sun will always rise again. Happy
reading all!  

Have you read this book? Did you know about this tragedy going on in the Baltic Nations? What did you think of Lina and her indisputable strength? 

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2 responses to “Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  1. Any books/movies that deal with WWII are usually so sad, but at the same time inspiring. I remember loving Diary of Anne Frank when I was younger and yes, reading these books makes you realize how grateful we should be. Glad you loved this one…wonderful review! ~Pam

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