-This has been in my drafts for a long time-Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publish Date: March 22nd, 2011 ; Philomel Books
Source: School Library
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.Wow. What a read. From the plotline to Ruta Sepetys writing, I honestly didn't expect it to be so . . great! Not that I thought it'd be bad, but just something I didn't like. First off, it was like a nonfiction-type read. It's not, but it felt like it. It's filled with a bunch of events happening. A whirl of feelings and emotions. Such a raw novel, behind the scenes of people that were taken away because of the faith they believed in. Very similar, almost exact, to the Jews and what happened to them. When I read the first page, I was kind of effy about it. I heard such raving reviews, but I never stopped and took the time to read them. I thought it was normal YA romance. You can image my surprise when I realized it was definitely not. More like historical friction. The ending made me sad;l I didn't want it to end. It was way too many things happening at the time for it to just end. I had gotten attached to a book I thought I would hate, how ironic.
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.
In other words, great book, great writing, great story-line, and great informational story. I'd read it over again if I got the chance.
"He was so clumsy, but he was so sincere. Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness. There's love and emotion trying to express itself, but at the time, it just ends up being awkward. Does that make sense?"