Friday, May 6, 2011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Published on March 22nd, 2011
 Between Shades of Gray is a heart-wrenching yet beautiful historical novel set in the country of Lithuania, where Stalin, the ruthless man who controls The Soviet Union, has captured The Baltics, also known as the countries of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Our heroine, a fifteen year old girl named Lina on the cusp of adult life, is terrified to learn that her mother, brother, and father have been arrested and are going to be deported far from Lithuania. Forced to ride a cattle train where multiple deportees ride and ache over problems of lice, food, and torturous care, Lina contemplates the possible reasons her family could have been deported by. Enraged by this sudden cruelty, Lina devises a plan to draw and write out her troubles so that hopefully someone will save these melancholy people. Using her unique artistic talent, she sketches every moment that is important to her, and hides them in the depths of her suitcase. Cold and hungry, the deportees finally reach Siberia, where they are set to work in the freezing conditions and not allowed anything besides basic necessities. Set on the brink of World War II, this is a story seldom told because of the fear circulated through survivor's minds that if they do not harbor this cruel secret, they would have been surely punished by the Soviet's secret police. Through beautiful/gruesome passages, Ruta E. Sepetys describe the hardships endured by these people, people with seeds of hope planted deep in their hearts, and love sowed into their souls. She also creates endless characters, some disgusting and cruel, like "the bald man" who always is wanting to die, and Lina's mother, Elena, who is a beautiful and loving mother to her dearest children. All the characters, even minor ones, stay fresh in my memory, each stamped with their own personality and beam of hope. 

Ruta E. Sepetys is an exceptional author, and one is not to underestimate her just because this is a debut novel. It is, in fact, a beautiful, gritty, wonderful, morbid collection of words that should always deserve special attention and a place in your memory. Thank you, Ruta Sepetys, for a wonderful piece in which I will always savor and remember.



i AM definitely going to buy this book now! i loved how you described the different characters! Great review!

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