Release Date: March 22, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Publisher
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 Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
I honestly have no idea where to even begin with this review. I’ve been trying to come up with the words for this review for days and I still haven’t came up with anything. It left me weepy and utterly speechless at the atrocities that happened. Between Shades of Gray may be fiction but its based on true events that were hidden away for years and they still aren’t widely known. I hope that this book changes that. I hope that it shines light on a time in history that is overlooked or flat out ignored.
One of the many beautiful things about Between Shades of Gray is that it’s about such a horrifying and depressing subject, but Ruta Sepetys manages to make it not so dark. There is the perfect balance of love and unfathomable hate. This book could be crippling and unreadable without the love and hope that shines through Sepetys’ writing.
I really urge you to read this book. To spread the word. To let people know that this happened. It’s a story that must be told and this is a book that must be read in order to fully understand how beautiful and heartbreaking it is.
You should really, really watch this video! It says everything about the book that I can’t!