Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 338 pages

PublisherPhilomel Books; 1st edition (March 22nd 2011)
Language: English
Source: Purchased from Power Books
First Sentence: "They took me in my nightgown."
Favorite Line from the Book
"A tiny sliver of gold appeared between shades of gray on the horizon. I stared at the amber band of sunlight, smiling. The sun had returned.
Book Summary:  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.
Between Shades of Gray is a gripping story about a young girl's struggle to obtain freedom and her constant fight for survival.  This is a story of pure heartache from the first chapter until the end.  Lina and her family were uprooted from their home and became slaves after a long journey to Siberia along with the other Lithuanians who were also stripped of identity, wealth, food, and some, their dignities.

Since the first chapter of the story, I was already at the brink of crying.  Chapter after chapter my heart simply went out to those characters in the story.  I was able to really immerse into the story and connected to each one of the characters, be it the main characters or the secondary ones.  Ruta Sepetys was able to write such an emotional and powerful novel about how one finds the courage to survive not only for herself, but for her family, for everyone that she held dear.  She was able to incorporate a very clear message that even beyond the most horrible of circumstances, hope and love is really what matters.  Friendships which were built in the novel were so true and pure that you would wish for one like it.  Hope resonated in this novel.  No matter how bleak it was for the people of Lithuania, they still had that glimmer of hope that one day, they would be free.

They say that you'll never get to appreciate something unless it was taken from you.  And I regard freedom as one of those things we take for granted.  After reading this novel, I think that you'll not look at freedom the same way again.

P.S. I cried so hard towards the end of the book, so be prepared.

Here's the book trailer:


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Skye (In The Good Books)

Great review. Between Shades Of Gray was such a sad book.

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