July 05, 2012

REVIEW: Between Shades of Gray by 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.

I don't like sad books. When I got sent this book as an ARC, I put off reading it so long, it was published before I picked it up. I wish I hadn't waited that long, because: 

Between Shades of Gray is a novel that everyone should read.

I read it quite a while ago, and I am still unable to give an opinion on this book. All I can say is that Sepetys has done an amazing job in evoking emotions and educating people, especially the Young Adult bracket (including myself), who are unaware of the atrocities that were committed to everyday people just like you and me.

I cannot put into words my feelings for this book. The review by Linda Sue Park for the New York Times, entitled "A Teenager's view of the Gulag" does a great job at it, and if you are interested in the book, should read it.
Other than that, 

I think that you should really make up your own mind about this book. 

No matter what genre you are into, you have to read it.

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