**Between Shades of Gray-- Ruta Sepetys

Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher: Philomel
Pages: 344
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
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.
Blurb: I feel like my soul has been put through a paper shredder and then glued back together. Amazing. Amazing.

Review: Now, I had absolutely no desire to read this book. But Emily wanted someone to go meet Ruta with, so I grudgingly borrowed my grandmother's copy.

Ho. Ly. Cow. I'm usually not a big historical fiction fan, but when I like them I like them hard. Guys. I like this book hardcore. We hear a lot about what happened to the Jews and the Germans in WWII, but I've never read a book about the Soviets and Lithuanians. I get my Axis and Allies all mixed up, and so I was floored when I found out about 80% into the book that the "bad guys" were allied with the Americans! Hello, Enna! Your ignorance is showing.

Lina is a great narrator. She's such a powerful character. She's got spunk, and charisma, and an unwavering spirit. She was able to be strong, and still human. She broke down sometimes, she wasn't perfect, but she always knew when to pick herself back up. If there's ever a fictional character I want in my corner, it'd be her.

Please, if you don't know much about this side of WWII (or even if you do) PICK UP THIS BOOK. It is beautiful and it will open your eyes.

HOWEVER, the ending is very unsatisfying! Usually I'd be okay with that because it would mean there was another book coming, but the end of the book is followed by an epilogue that vaguely ties up the loose ends. Enough to close the story, but not enough to satisfy my curiosity! Again, I could spend another hundred or more pages with these characters. Ruta talked about why she ended the way she did (she didn't want the ending to be corny or false), and I guess I can understand where's she's coming from, but... I WANT MORE!

Other Reviews:

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.


  1. I'm so so so glad you ended up reading this, Enna! I feel that it's such an important book, and I really really love it and all it stands for. I kind of agree with the ending thing. It really makes you want more!

  2. I wanted to see more at the end as well. I want to know how they escaped or were freed from the camp, and I want to read about the reunions, and I want to know the fate of Lina's dad!!

  3. I just bought a copy of this today, I've heard it's amazing from so many people! Now if I can just find time to read it...

  4. I really really love this book. I'm always trying to get people to read it but when describing it I ALWAYS cry. This book makes me more emotional than anything else. I'm SO glad you gave it a try and loved it!

  5. Wow, that's some endorsement. Well, we've seen it around but never been sure about it, but it's definitely on our list now! ;)


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