Aug 162011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys 
Rating: 5/5
Source: Local library
Links: Amazon, Goodreads, Author’s website, Book’s website

Lina is a regular, art loving teenager in Lithuania in 1941. One night her family is rounded up with thousands of others and herded into train cars. They are deported to prison camps far away. Over time, they are sent further and further north into the cold winters of Siberia where they are expected to work until they die.

This is a heart-breaking story based on real history. I’ve never heard of this tragedy as it is rarely taught in schools. I applaud the strength it took to write and share a story about this struggle.

The content may have been bleak and dark, but the actual story-telling was not. There were plenty of happy moments and memories which helped to keep the story from getting too dark. I notice a re-occuring mention of love, which is something the author talked about in the author’s note. She said she meant this to be a love story, and it really did feel that way. Not a love story as in romance, but a love story as in the power of love will triumph in even the harshest conditions.

I will admit that I found Lina annoying quite regularly. She was a very young and immature fifteen year old. It seemed that she was selfish and thought only of herself quite often. This lessen as the story went on and Lina matured and grew up though.

Overall, this was an amazing book that I would recommend to everyone. There is violence, but it directly relates to the story and the circumstances. This book helps shed light on a horrorific historical event in much the same way that The Diary of Anne Frank does.

  2 Responses to “Between Shades of Gray”

  1. Sounds like a powerful book. Great review.

  2. Read your comment over at Bloggin 'bout books — it was not a happy or easy read — but I loved it too. so much WWII historical fiction is focused on Germany — I was oblivious to the Soviet/Baltic tragedy.

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