Happy new year! 2019!!!!!!!!
Aaaaaand I’m really sorry that I haven’t posted in, uh, a LONG time. I know I’m making excuses, but I had a major performance, the holidays (I was out of town without my laptop), and another major performance, so I was pretty busy. Let’s just leave it at that, but I’m prepared for a horde of angry comments that may include, for example,
“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN??????????”
“I’M UN-FOLLOWING YOU NOW!”
“HOW dare YOU!”
And so on. Please forgive me! On to the next part:
I just read this AWESOME book called Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetes, and it was awesome, like I just said. I don’t really know how to write a book review, but I’ll try my best. Credits to Grace from This Stack of Books for being the template for this post. 🙂 (I kind of can’t figure out how to put a picture here, so sorry about that)
Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: March 22, 2011
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.
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. Summary from Goodreads.
I really enjoyed this book and it made me feel all sorts of emotions. It’s definitely not a fast-paced, action-filled thriller with Lina as a warrior-princess or anything like that. It does have a bit of action, but mostly the story is about character development, historical settings, and how innocent people suffered through horrible genocide.
Lina is interesting, and she isn’t a whimpering damsel in distress. Although there is a love interest, most of her accomplishments in the book are her own- no boy came in to save the day and save her. I also particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Lina’s art. It’s nice that she isn’t a typical artist who draws things as they are, but she’s an artist that draws as she imagines them.
A very important part of this book is about the forgotten massacre of several million innocents by Stalin who was the leader of the Soviet Union. As I read Between Shades of Gray, it was easy to forget that it wasn’t just a fiction story with a fictional world and a fictional plot- although Lina may not have been real, there were so many like her who went through as much and even more than she went through. These people can’t be forgotten, which is why Ruta Sepetys wrote the story.
Ruta definitely didn’t tone down on anything for the book: she wrote everything as it was, and she gave her book the ending that made sense, not the way that would keep the audience from crying.
My only criticism -which really isn’t much of a criticism- is that Lina, although she has different quirks than other characters, seems to have the same base/core characteristics as most female protagonists in books. They all manage to be brave and mostly shoulder the responsibilities of everything that happens around them. However, I understand that Ruta Sepetys wanted to write a historical fiction story, not a book that highlights flaws and may be even more controversial than it already is. That’s the only reason why I gave it a 95 out of 100.
IF YOU LIKED/YOU WILL LIKE
If you liked __________ you will like Between Shades of Gray:
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
- Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
It works vice-versa as well, so if you like this book you probably will like these books.
Thanks for reading, guys! You’re the BEST.
BTW, that’s bye in Lithuanian. Just an ode to the book of the day!