March 14, 2011

Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of GrayYoung Adult
Pages: 352
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: March 22, 2011

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning my brother's was worth a pocket watch.
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina's father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.
Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they 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, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

This was devastating. I was literally tense throughout the whole book. It's hard to explain how frightened and engaged one can get when reading a powerful book. Specially if it happens to be historical. My heart broke... I spilled every tear I had. How could this have happened? I don't mean that in a rhetorical way, I mean, how the hell could something so unimaginably cruel and utterly inhumane be allowed and supported by so many? Here I thought Hitler was the ultimate devil. Not anymore, I don't. 

In spite of the fact that Between Shades of Gray was beautifully written, and the story carries so much love and power that it just sort of blooms out of the pages, everyone should read this because this is a story that needed to be told. It's a part of a history that sadly, will remain hidden unless people pick up a novel like this. 

Imagine for one second that something horrible happens to you and you are forced to keep it secret for years, and then when your story finally becomes available, when people can actually hear about it, they hesitate or are afraid to hear it because it will be too sad. Please don't be. Love and hope poured from the pages as freely as the tears fell from my eyes. 

Overall, the emotional wreckage and the heart-warming feeling that this book gave me was really overwhelming. So I recommend you experience it for yourself. My chest tightens when I think about the courage it must have taken to write this. So I ask you, my dear blog reader, not to allow this book to go unnoticed. It deserves a place in our hearts so we can wholeheartedly appreciate how truly blessed we are. 

*If you are a YA Historical Fiction Challenge participant, you can win a copy of this awesome book in March's prize-pack here!



  1. I can't wait to get to this - I love YA fiction set in WWII. It's my planned weekend reading. Great review.

  2. I barely read this review because I just got a copy of this one in the mail. It looks fantastic, and I am so glad you liked it. I might have to move it up on my TBR pile!

  3. From the cover I didn't realize it was historical *face palm* I'd definitely add it to my pile :) thanks for the review

  4. I've been dieing to read this one! Thanks for the review (:

  5. Oh my gosh, this must be really serious! I have got to read this. Thanks for your heartfelt review :)

  6. This book was absolutely amazing! I couldn't stop thinking about it for days.

  7. I couldn't agree with your review more! It was amazing.

  8. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Historically accurate books for YAs are so vital!!


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