Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Apr 19, 2011
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pub. Date: March 22nd 2011
ISBN: 0399254129
Pages: 338 pages
From Goodreads.com:

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.
After hearing all of the rave reviews of Between Shades of Gray I could not pass it up. Other bloggers promised an emotional journey and an unforgettable story in itself. I was not let down.

I had never heard of this historical event and it completely amazes me. The story Ruta Sepetys has written is compelling and heartbreaking. It reminded me so much of the holocaust and even Anne Frank. The things that happen and things that Stalin did were, in my mind, very similar to Hitler.

Every step of Lina's journey led me through a myriad of emotions. She was such a strong and brave girl, who grew so much by the end. It's sad though because it seemed her growth was forced upon her. The other characters found a place in my heart too and I could not stop reading to see what would happen next.

It's hard to talk about this book because I don't want to say it was interesting (it sounds, in a way, sick) or that it was informative (it was much more than that), but I will say that it opened my eyes. Ruta Sepetys created these characters that I was in love with and made the events that happened harder and more shocking for me.

Overall this was a beautiful book that led me on an emotional journey. Between Shades of Gray was full of hope that could not be broken.

Rating: 4.5 stars / 5 stars 

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