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Between Shades of Gray
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Between Shades of Gray > Final Thoughts on Between Shades of Gray

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message 1: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
Now that you are done what did you think of this book? How would you cope in Lina's situation. Will you try learn more about what happened in the Baltics? Do you think this book is for young adults or is the subject matter too graphic? Here is a negative review on the book : would you agree with them or disagree?

Kimberley (thejourneytomypersonallegend) | 3 comments I finished Between Shades of Gray yesterday and I loved it. It's written beautifully. It told me a story I never heard before and I was very impressed. Everyone should read this, it takes your breath away.

Stephanie (stephsco) | 55 comments I don't often tear up at books but I definitely shed a few tears with this one. I was grateful at the hopeful undertones throughout; the kindness her mother showed to everyone, putting others before herself even though they were all starving. How the prisoners banded together, even if they disliked each other, and their resolve not to let anyone go. Lina's art was a beautiful device to capture the hope.

I felt extremely grateful for my own life after reading this.

Julia | 431 comments I read a lot of Holocaust books, for kids, teens and adults. I was very glad I read this non- Holocaust, Stalin was a monster too novel.

No, I didn't think it was too graphic...

Kayla | 2 comments I finished this book two days ago and I absolutely LOVED it!!! The writing was very captivating and I couldn't put it down. As an artist, with a younger sibling I could very easily identify with Lina and I could also very easily visualize everything that was going on. Although this book was very heart breaking and kind of depressing, I didn't feel it was too graphic, and I would recommend it to anyone :)

Theo | 115 comments I just finished the novel, and I appreciated the history that Ruta Sepetys brought to life with this story. I think that the author does a great job of presenting the horrors of Lina's life without going into such graphic detail that it becomes too mature. I think that I would feel comfortable recommending this title to mature/serious 12 or 13 year olds.

As far as the review that was linked to, I don't think it was a negative review. The reviewer was captivated by the story (she said she didn't want to put it down). She just pointed out that Sepetys's narrative style was nothing fancy, and some scenes fell flat. I would agree, but I also wonder if the author did this intentionally. The novel uses a first-person POV, so we should be hearing Lina's voice. I read the simplistic style as Lina's way of distancing herself from the trauma she went through, but maybe I'm giving Sepetys too much credit.

message 7: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
Finished this book on the while at Comic Con. And I have to say WOW!! Personally I thought this book was amazing. I was very surprised at it. I don't read a lot of historical fiction so I was quite surprised at how good it is.

I only teared up at one part... when the mother died. I really did think that was sad. Ok.. and also when Andrius and Lina had to separate. That was actually really sad. I am glad the group picked this book. But it's not as popular as our other books. I've noticed when we read a more serious book there isn't as much participation.

It makes me sad to think that no one paid attention to the people of Lithuania. I didn't know what to think about the part when the American Ship appeared. I think maybe someone should've run out as soon as they new the Americans were off the ship. I guess everyone was just so afraid.

The characters in this book are amazing and have sooo much depth. The bald man... who seemed so bitter. Ona and her baby which had such an impact on me. Lina's brother Jonas who grew up so fast in the novel, her mother Elena who inspired me to try harder to be kinder to people, Mrs. Arvydas who's choices were so hard to comprehend, the grouchy woman and her children, Kretzsky who knew that everything he was doing was wrong and was just stuck in a life he didn't want to be in, the man who always turned the dial on his watch, Lina's father and cousin, who am I forgetting?? The two ladies and I can't remember their names. One was a teacher.
These characters all were written is a fabulous way. I felt like I knew each one of them!

I just wish I could've seen Lina's art in the book. I think that would've made the story more amazing!!! Though the descriptions used help my imagination picture the art perfectly in my head. I was shocked to read that the suffering of these people wasn't revealed until 1990~!! WHAT? ? ?? That is nuts to me.

I found it very sad when they found out about their dad. That was the one bit of hope they always had in the back of their minds. I believe anyone in a hopeless situation needs something to hold onto even if deep inside they know it is not try and not actually going to happen. The mother keeping clean clothes in her luggage proved that hope kept her strong and kept her going. I think when she found out her husband had died she finally saw how hopeless the situation was. The clean clothes was very sad to read about.

I didn't understand why they were taken to the arctic? What was the point of that? Just so they would die?

I didn't love the ending. I read through 300 pages and then all of a sudden the book stopped. The sun poked out, we find out Lina lives and marries and that is that. I REALLY felt let down by the end. I really was invested in all the characters and wanted to see how their story ended. Meaning I wish I could've seen how they eventually get out of camp. I felt completely let down by the end.

I recently went to the Holocaust museum in Washington DC and it was done very well. There is a room you walk though that has 1000s of shoes. Dirty old shoes that were found in the concentration camps. They shoes were discarded because they weren't worth anything to the Nazi's. Hair was sold, clothes were sold.. but shoes were worth nothing to the Nazi's. It was so overwhelming. If anyone here goes to DC go to this museum!

What do you guys think of the mother smashing all their china when the Russians first came in to take the family?
And a BIG question for everyone who joined in the book club this month... would you have signed the papers stating you were guilty? Thank long and hard. Did you find yourself looking at the map in the front of the book while reading along?

As far as the age group for this book I think it is for sure YA. I think in England it is sold as an adult book. People have issues with the sex that Mrs. Arvydas has with the guards.

I hope more of our members read this book this month. It really is good and teaches the reader a few lessons.

message 8: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (last edited Jul 15, 2012 05:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
In case you are curious about what the shoe display looks like that I was talking about here is one side of the room and the other side looks the same:


message 9: by Liza (last edited Jul 21, 2012 08:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liza (gracefulserendipity) Angie, sometimes I think if the author would have shown us how they got together after her stint in Siberia the powerful message would be lost and it would become a romance novel.

I do think it would make for an interesting novella if she were ever to release one as to how they found each other.

ETA: Has anyone ever seen her live in a panel? I wasn't interested in the book until I heard her speak about how she volunteered to go to prison for a documentary. She has been one of the most fascinating authors I've ever had the privilege to meet to date.

The only other time I was that captivated by an author was when I met Benjamin Alire Saenz, but he's not a YA author and my love for him came more for his poetry than his novels.

message 10: by Ela (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ela It was engaging, I liked the characters and it's definately a great way to learn about the lithuanian genocide in post war europe.
However I did find the ending lacking; I'm a sucker for big reunions, so I was really hoping for one of them, and it just never happened!

Jenna (vailfiregirl) I really loved the book, but was a bit let down by the end. Not just how Andrius and Lina got back together, but how Lina got back to Lithuania and what life was like there. I know that would have made a long book, but I still think it would have been interesting. I know the author covered it somewhat in her note at the end, but I would have liked to see it from Lina's POV.

That said, the rest of the book was pretty amazing. I had a hard time putting it down and was so engaged with the writing even as I was appalled at the events. This was an aspect of World War II that I had not previously encountered.

message 12: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
I post this on our facebook page and thought I would post it here too... it really really adds to the story. If you enjoyed the book take a minute to watch the author talk about her history and the reasons behind writing the book:

Jennika (Lovenectar28) | 91 comments I actually enjoyed the ending. I feel like it was just enough to tell us how awful the situation was yet not so much that I felt like the story was dragging on. I would have loved to see how she and Andrius reunited and what became of the other characters who shared their shack and train cab, but I'm glad that it didn't turn out to be WAY too much information. I felt like that left it up to my imagination to figure out all the in between details.

One of the characters I was 50/50 on throughout the entire book. The bald man who broke his leg! I found it interesting that he felt like he was being punished because he was surviving. What did you guys think of him?

message 14: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne (HeadfullofBooks) I wouldn't say that the school library journal blog was THAT negative. She admitted that she tore through the book. She just commented that the writing wasn't spectacular, something that should be noted if a book is going to be considered for awards.

I really liked the book a lot but I have a hard time talking students in to reading it. Not sure if they think they know all there is to know about the holocaust or they just want to read light, happy books.

message 15: by Anna (last edited Jul 27, 2012 10:16AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna | 31 comments I think this is a book worth reading: the students on my Carnegie group all got something out of it and found it valuable. They also liked the flashbacks - I'm afraid I found them irritating and didn't highly rate the writing style. However I did like the ending - it was bleak (and apparently based on real events), but so was their life. An experience like like would not have a Disney ending - no one would emerge from that unscathed.

There is a very moving personal account on the internet from a Lithuanian man who escaped from a Gulag with his mother: he was pardoned - she wasn't. He had to hide her in the forest even though she was elderly and unwell. When she died he buried her in his basement as the KGB was still looking for her seven years after her escape... and would have arrested him for concealing her.

message 16: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
Jennika wrote: "I actually enjoyed the ending. I feel like it was just enough to tell us how awful the situation was yet not so much that I felt like the story was dragging on. I would have loved to see how she an..."

The bald man really made me think. There are so many bitter people every day... and I always wonder what is behind the bitterness. This man really thought he was being punished and for that he was bitter. But every now and then you would see his humanity come out. I really enjoyed all the characters in the book!

message 17: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
Anna wrote: "I think this is a book worth reading: the students on my Carnegie group all got something out of it and found it valuable. They also liked the flashbacks - I'm afraid I found them irritating and d..."

The more I think about it the more I like the ending. But ending it the way she did it kept the book dark. Had it ended with happy endings for the characters the book may have seemed more light. I suppose the author wanted to keep us thinking about it being a dark time.

That story about the Lithuanian man is interesting. I wonder just how many stories are out there that we don't even know about. I always look at people and wonder what their life story is.

message 18: by Rita (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rita (booksandrita) | 32 comments The novel was engaging. I was just hooked. And shocked that I didn't knew about it. Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but about the situation in the Baltic states? It is awful to hear about it just now.

The ending was good, I thought. Although I wanted to know more about the characters and how their story ended, I thought the ending was still good.
It felt like there was new hope for Lina and that's what still made it a good ending, in my opinion.

Kimberley (thejourneytomypersonallegend) | 3 comments Uh... James, I think you're probably thinking about 50 shades of Grey and all the other Grey books. The book we're discussing is about a war, not porn.

message 20: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2691 comments Mod
James wrote: "Why is this book on the YA book club talk? I am 14 and I know about birds and bees, but the book is banned from the school library cause its Porn, why is it on here?"

Yea I think you have the wrong book. If you actually read and look through the post you will see this.

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