Friday, 16 May 2014

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

Book: Between Shades of Gray

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Pages: 344

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Read On: Physical copy- a Paperback.

Plot Summary: 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.

General Thoughts: I read Out of the Easy by the same author last year and utterly loved it. The writing, the characters and the setting were all fantastic and I wanted to read her other works. Sadly, it took me nearly a year to finally get my hands on this book. Ah! But better late than never. 

Review: This was a wonderful book. Hard to read. Heart-breaking. Sad. Poignant. But very, very good and so important to read. I generally believe that war books, though incredibly sad, gruesome and sometimes really heavy, should be read. We should read about difficult things. Because these horrible things happened. People lived through it. People survived them. People died. We could at least read about it and know what people have endured. 

I loved everything in this book. The writing was lovely. The characters- big, small and brief were wonderful. Lina, her beautiful and strong mother, her little brother who grows up in this wretched situation and grows up too quickly. The other people who become family to Lina through this ordeal. All these people became very real and you were rooting for them and hoped they survived Siberia. 

I loved the story- the horrors, the trials and tribulations, the surviving, putting one step in front of the other and just trying to survive one hard day after another. I loved the history. This dark, sad, shameful chapter of history. 

I really loved this book. 

Will you like it? Yes! It's hard to read in parts but it is a wonderful book. 

Rating: 5/5 

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