Release Date: March 22nd 2011
Genres: Europe, Historical, Holocaust, Military & Wars, Prejudice & Racism, Social Issues, Young Adult
It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
“Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived?”
Boy, did I go into this one unaware. Ruta Sepetys was a familiar name due to the hype surrounding SALT TO THE SEA. When I was at the library the other day I saw BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY and decided to pick it up after hearing so much about the book and the author. I didn’t know a single thing about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, and I think that was what made this book even more special to me.
I barely know how to review it.
Where do I even begin? BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY made me almost every emotion I can think of: rage, horror, sadness, happiness, and everything in between.The book revolves around our heroine, Lina, and her family, but also explores numerous other characters and their experiences, painting a broad and vivid picture of what Stalin and the NKVD did to around twenty million people.
“I planted a seed of hatred in my heart.
I swore it would grow to be a massive tree whose roots would strangle them all.”
You need to read this book, period.
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY tells a story that begs to be read. Although it is fictional, many of the experiences Lina and her family go through are not. I had no idea this event even happened, much less how bad it was. So I began to think about how the events in this book were never mentioned when I was in school and how many people are like me. I wish I could give a copy to everyone.
It prompts thought and discussion.
It isn’t often that you read the last page of a book and finally close the cover that you find yourself wanting to do something. I looked up everything I could find on the Lithuanian Holocaust and Stalin’s reign of terror. I thought I knew WWII history but clearly, I did not. I wanted to learn everything I could about this tragedy and the people whose voices were stifled; even more, I wanted to tell people. I even found myself explaining the event to my mother in the car. This is a book that will stick with me.
“We’d been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean.
I realized that if we boosted one another, maybe we’d get a little closer.”