Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

Title:  Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publishing Date: April 3rd 2012
Pages: 338
Genre:  YA Historical Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio


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?

This book was the book club read for June. I have seen this book around and I heard it was good, I never really thought I would have interest in reading it. I read every book for book club so I decided to since I needed to read it, I would listen to it. I cannot possibly find the right words to describe how absolutely amazing, powerful, heartbreaking, hopeful, read this book was. This book is on my must read for everyone who reads. The story was so moving, beautifully written, and just captivating. I learned so much I never knew and I felt so many emotions as I took the the journey with the main character and all her family and friends.

World War II and Stalin has a list. A list of anyone that he believes is a threat to his power. Lina and her family are taken in the middle of the night, separated from their father, Lina and her 10 year old brother, along with their mother are put on a van, then a train, traveling for months to an unknown destination. They are barely fed, treated like animals, and left to die from starvation or illness on this long journey. Lina is determined to stay strong, stay hopeful, and make sure she and her family survive this horrific journey. 

This has to be one of the most moving books I have ever read. It was very emotional... heart wrenching, but also full of hope, love, friendship, and strength. The story is just beautiful and every word was written with heart and full of rawness. It hurt to read the story, it hurt to know what happened and to feel what happened, knowing the story was just like so many out there who went through what Lina's family did. Even though the story hurt, the story was hopeful, the people that were stolen from their homes, used, abused, starved, and tortured never gave up. 

The storytelling and the writing were unforgettable. It read with a poetic feel. There wasn't much for details for the setting.The setting wasn't where they happened to be at but was focused around the way they were treated, and the way they lived. It was very real. Every moment was just breathtaking. 

The main character was just so amazing. Strong, caring, determined. She did what she had to do to keep herself and her family alive, never giving up hope that they would see her father again and that they would one day be released. She kept holding on even when it seemed things would never get better. She loved her mother, she loved her brother, she loved her father. The family loyalty and strength was wonderful. She was one of the strongest heroines I have seen in YA books. She inspired me and I will not forget her. 

There were some very hard parts to get through. I am glad the author was not too graphic, but she was graphic enough to know how horrible it was. The entire time, I just wanted to yell at someone... how can anyone treat humans this way. Knowing it did happen made the story even more powerful, but without the personal feel from the author and the main character, it wouldn't have dug so deep. 

This was a fictional story but the author had some personal reasons and a past that reflects the story. Her family had been effected by this horribleness,  what she didn't know from loved ones she researched and spoke to many survivors. She did an outstanding job writing this book. The story read like fiction but felt like a memoir. 

Really it is very hard to put my feelings and thoughts into words. The book was just so spectacular. Its just a must read. So go and read. 

One of the best reads ever.  A must read! 



  1. I've always wanted to read this one! It deals with a lot of tough subjects, but the heroine does seem like such an inspiration. Great review! :)

  2. Wonderful review of this amazing book. This is one of those books, like The Book Thief that sticks with the reader years and years after reading. I always prefer the audio because I feel like it makes the reading experience even more personal in some strange way. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed this so much. Your review makes me want to read it again.

  3. Unbelievable book. Great review. Made me want to read it again. You should read Out of the Easy if you haven't.

  4. I don't read nearly enough historical fiction, but I really like the sound of this one! The setting of New Orleans intrigues me, and I'm glad that the author succeeded in writing such a well-crafted story. I should check it out!

    Marlene Detierro (Hummer Parts)


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