Between Shades of Grey
By Ruta Sepetys
Reading Level: Medium
Similar Authors: Anna Collomore, Page Morgan, Laura Resau
“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. (Goodreads)”
I-I-I just wow – this book is so beautiful, it hurst. There are few books out there that carry this much importance and do it with such grace… yeah, this book is graceful.
What I really enjoyed whilst reading this was what an eye-opener it was; there is all this hype about Hitler, and in no way do I mean to downplay what he did, but you have to understand that Stalin killed a lot more people for a longer period of time. This book really highlights that issue, and I was just amazed at how much I didn’t know.
My favorite part of this book was the relationships between the characters – the unconditional love of mothers, the companionship between friends and strangers, the understanding between siblings. Throughout the novel, all I could think was how much I would react like that in order to protect my family, and how painfully real everything felt.
This is also one of those historical books that shows both sides, even though you tend to heavily lean on Lina’s side.
I honestly cannot think of one thing that I didn’t like about this book… well, I didn’t love the ending when I was reading it, but I do now. It is a very concluding ending, and though painful, it’s a perfect.
5 out 5 any day.
And speaking of days, have a good one!