Cara's Reviews > Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
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Mar 23, 2014

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, whoa-that-s-heavy, historical-fiction, siblings
Read from July 06 to 10, 2011

Ruta Sepetys wrote a courageous story that has been overlooked for quite some time. I can only imagine how hard it is to write with such frankness but to convey through the grimness that there is love and hope, no matter how small it is; it's still there.

Lina is our protagonist who lives in Lithuania in the 1940's and one night the NKVD (widely known later as the KGB) bust through her family's home and take her mom, little brother, and herself to an unknown location. Her father has been taken earlier that day to a separte location. As the reader you know they are going to be sent to Siberia because of the history behind this, but Lina and her family have no clue. They are herded like criminals from place to place without explanation or reason. You see the downward spiral of the conditions they have to endure. Some people crack and lose the will to live; while others fight with everything they got in hopes that the future will be better.

The story is sad, but has rays of hope. Sepetys balances the events of the story well. She isn't vague about horrible descriptions, but she also makes sure to represent acts of kindness and goodness. You also get to see the power of art, and how it can chronicle events that happen around them. I loved all the characters, and the relationship between Lina and Andrius is hard to comprehend at first. But when you think of what they have to go through it isn't a surprise how their relationship develops. It’s complicated, but sweet among all this tragedy. My favorite character of the story was Lina's brother Jonas. As the reader you see him grow leaps and bounds, and feel sad but proud at the same time how he has become resilient in face of their struggles.

I like to read books like this from time to time to keep myself in check. Recently an AC adapter got busted on a laptop in my home. Of course it was one we bought a couple of months ago, and as I write this I'm using an ancient laptop (close to 4 years old) but what am I complaining about? I was so pissed off when it first happened but in reality it's trivial. A nuisance yes, but nothing compared with what these people had to live through. Not even close.

When I read stories like these I can't believe people say historical fiction is boring. It is not boring. The cover and title fit the book perfectly. I can't find one thing I would change about it. I challenge those people who avoid historical fiction to read this book. I'm guessing it just might change your mind.
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Quotes Cara Liked

Ruta Sepetys
“Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness.”
Ruta Sepetys, Between Shades of Gray


Reading Progress

07/10/2011 page 236
69.0% "I'm learning so much. I had no idea that this had happened. I don't know why people say historical fiction is boring? So not true."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin I'm glad this one's on my to-read list. It sounds like a good one.

Also, "whoa that's heavy" is a hilarious shelf title. :D


Cara Thanks, I liked the name a lot too;) I will make sure to see what you think of this one when you get around to reading it.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow, great review Cara! I haven't heard of this one, but I'm sure going to add it to my TBR list. And thanks for suggesting it:D I'm sure it's quality YA.


Cara Thanks Leanne:D I'd say it was one of the most impactful reads I've had in awhile. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it when you do get a chance to read it;)


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