Pages: 344 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: March 22nd 2011
Source: Reviewed for BLISS Magazine
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 the first novel by Ruta Sepetys and tells of story of 15 year old Lithuanian, Lina and her family who where deported during the time of Stalin. The story tells of the horrific events that occurred to Lina and the other deportee's during that time and is heartbreaking as well as uplifting.
This story has been researched incredibly by the author and has been written so well. Unlike a lot of young adult books, it doesn't candy coat the story. Even though the characters in this book are fiction, as a reader, I was aware that the story being told was all too true for the people suffering at that time.
Lina is a truly incredible character. I completely felt her pain throughout the book but I also loved the small lighthearted scenes in which her and the other's trapped in the camp made the best out of the situation. I think the scene in which they all celebrate Christmas is a really heartwarming scene.
Of course there is a little romance which is much needed amongst all of the gritty scenes.
Whilst reading the book I literally could not put it down and it is a story that I will remember for along time. This is a book that will stay with you long after you've turned the final page.
My Royal Rating: