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 finished reading Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. N & I visited BookCon this weekend, and had the ability to speak with Ruta herself. Ruta is one of the most talented writers. She is also one of the most kindhearted people I have ever met, and who she is as a person reflects her writing.
But anyway, let’s get to the book. Between Shades of Gray was such an amazing read. By the time I was twenty pages into the book, I could’t put it down.
Between Shades of Gray tells the story of a girl named Lina who lives in Lithuania with her brother, mother, and father. Once WWII starts, Lina’s father has disappeared, and one night, the NKVD (Soviet) officers come to their home. They are dragged from their home to face Stalin’s cruel labor camps in Siberia. Along Lina’s journey to survive, Lina meets other people who have to face the same milestone: life or death.
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I felt as though with each page I read, my emotions were continually changing. I was crying on one page, and as the next page came, I was laughing. I also liked the book because of the hidden history. Everyone seems to know the history behind Hitler’s Holocaust; however not many people know that Stalin was doing the same thing to even more Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian people. A big part of Ruta Sepetys’ writing comes from hidden history, which is one reason why I love her (I am quite the history fan!!)
If you enjoyed The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), The Boy In The Striped Pajamas (John Boyne), or Night (Elie Wiesel), this is the book for you. I also want to say that I think everyone will find this book enjoyable because of how different it is. I cannot explain how truly remarkable this book is. I wish I could read it all over again for the first time.
I hope you all read this AMAZING book. If you liked this book, and you have recommendations for me, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love more books like this one.
Thanks for listening,