Between Shades of Gray

Ruta Sepetys
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.


Reviewed: 2016-01-10
I didn't really know what to expect from this book when I picked it up. I also didn't know what it was about either. The things that Lina, the main character, goes through are things that no one deserves. I honestly knew little to nothing about the other races that suffered during WWII. I knew that there were many others along with Jews that had to go through unfair injustices, but I had never read a book about them. This book was purely raw. Even though the author didn't put a lot of descriptive words during some scenes I could instantly see what she wanted us to through Lina's emotions. I had never felt so connected to a character that I could picture everything simply through thier emotions. A part that stuck with me the most was when Lina finds out that she and her family were taken because her father was helping her uncle escape. Lina is upset with her mother for not telling her, but mostly she is upset that while she and her family are suffering her cousin is free somewhere else. It goes the same for all of us. Our freedom that we have right now is costing someone else's elsewhere. In the end it saddened me that the story ended and that I had to close the book.
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