Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Release Date: 22nd March, 2011

Publisher: Puffin

Pages: 344pgs

The Story

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth?

That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.

It is 1941 and fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school and looking forward to summer. Then suddenly, her life is changed forever. One night, the Soviet secret police invade her home and forcibly remove Lina, her mother and brother, transporting them via cattle trucks from familiar Lithuania to remote Siberia. The conditions are horrific, the genocide unseen and thousands of lives are lost.

In this dramatic and moving story, Lina must fight for her life and for the life of those around her. Her harrowing journey and incredible strength of spirit will steal your breath, capture your heart and give you hope.

The Review

As soon as I heard about this particular title and watched this video here, I knew I had to read this novel. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY may have been a little out of my comfort zone - as I don't usually read these types of novels - but I'm so glad that I gave this one a go.

BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is told through the eyes of Lina Vilkas, an incredible young woman, who's inner strength is tested by her bravery and the willingness to live. She's not only a determined young woman but she's a fearless one too. She is always risking her own life to help her family and rarely thinking about the consequences of her actions - for herself and for others. Using her talents as an artist, she draws up the likes of maps layouts and secret messages that she hopes will one day reach her father and the list goes on. This girl is the perfect heroine. I felt for Lina throughout the novel because I must warn you . . . this book isn't all sunshine and butterflies. The author, Ruta Septys, spends a good deal of the book exploring a very grim environment and she doesn't dare cover up the horrors that were committed against these innocent people during this time. Despite Lina's situation she never falters and she never loses her spirit nor her incredible courage and she's definitely someone everyone should aspire to.

Although the novel has a slow-moving pace to it, but it didn't bother me since I was so wrapped up and invested with these characters' stories. Overall - without going through every single detail - what I loved most about the book was how the author focussed on the lives of those in the Baltic regions, those that were most effected by Stalin's reign of terror, because it gave the novel a sense of realism since so many of these innocent people suffered in silence long after the war was over. Sure, the novel is purely fiction . . . but I appreciated that some of the events of the book were real life accounts that were told to Ruta by survivors of the actual war. If you've seen the video above, you'll know what I mean. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is an unforgettable story. Through it's gut-wrenching scenes to it's horrors in the work camp, this novel is unwavering when it comes the honesty of the perils of war and it's no wonder why so many people loved this novel's heart and soul! Definitely pick this baby up if you want to fall in love with it too!

The Rating

4/5 stars


  1. Oh wow, this sounds incredible. And I've heard that so many people cried while reading. I really enjoy - in as much way that you can enjoy - these kind of deep, tragic, tear-at-the-heart novels that touch the reader and give you a greater sense of those real-life tragedies of the past. I am definitely going to be checking this out. Fantastic review!

  2. This book sounds really great. It's been on my wishlist for awhile now. Awesome review :)

  3. This book sounds really amazing! I will have to consider adding it into my TBR list. Good, honest review!

  4. great review!! . Ive been meaning to read this for a while now . its sounds really great> it kind of reminds of the book thief (amazing book!!) but i haven't seen this book anywhere (bookstores/libraries) ill be sure to check it out when i find it :D


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