BOOK REVIEW: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Published: March 22nd 2011
Edition Language: English
Source: borrowed from MHS library

From Goodreads:
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.

Mrs. Beamer's Review:
Riveting.  Haunting.  Horrifying.  Enlightening.  Thought-provoking.  This book is all of SO much more.  Truly.  I read the book in one sitting, finishing a week ago.  And still...the story consumes a great deal of my thoughts.  I waited to write this review, hoping to find the words to do the book justice.  I'm afraid I will fall short.  

The book chronicles the lives of Lithuanian families torn from their homes under Stalin's regime.  We come to know Lina and her family intimately, as their journey is narrated with gut-wrentching clarity and honesty.  The history of the Baltic States during WWII was unknown to me prior to reading Between Shades of Gray.  I'm guessing this is true for most people.  While the genocide of its people compares to that of the Holocaust, the Lithuanians were quieted for nearly 50 years...their story untold.  It is the author's hope that her book will spark talk of this tragic period in history. 

Between Shades of Gray is a book we all need to read...a story we all must know.  The author did an outstanding job of recreating this harrowing time.  She evoked every emotion I have and created a desire in me to do my part to raise awareness of Stalin's treatment of Lithuanians.


Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: n/a
Violence: n/a
Sexual Content: n/a
Drugs/Alcohol: n/a
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: upper elementary
Potential Controversial Topics: ALL READERS AGES 12+ NEED TO READ THIS BOOK

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