Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

7824322Blurb from Goodreads

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. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Kindle Edition, 355 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Speak (first published January 1st 2011)
edition language: English
genre: Historical Fiction, Teen
My Thoughts
To be honest, I didn’t know much about the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic countries and the way Stalin ruled. Reading this book is like opening my eyes and my mind of what happened to many countries and their citizen under the Soviet annexation. I know this is a fictional story with fictional characters but knowing that what happened to the characters were really happened in real life makes me wondering why I didn’t know much about it, at least not as much as I know about German, Hitler and Nazi.

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.

I loved this book from the first chapter. It’s beautifully written and was delivered in short chapter, the kind that I like because that way I feel like I can read faster than when I read longer chapter, if you know what I mean. The more I read it the more I felt it so sad and depressing. At some point I wanted to just stop reading it because it was too painful to read. Hence, the author did a great job describing and capturing all the emotions in it, through characters and setting. It was so vivid I felt like I was there with Lina, the narrator of the story.

I also love all of the characters, including the bad guys from Lina’s POV, of course. All of them have their own role and the fact that they sometimes being in gray areas made me wondering how I should feel about them. Are they really bad characters or good one?

But there are also things that keep me from giving it a perfect 5 stars. First, second part of the story was kind of dragging out.
And a tiny little thing regarding of the ending which I didn’t quite satisfied. It wasn’t a cliffhanger, it was more an open ending, I think. I don’t mind to either of them but in this story I felt like it ended in abruptly, like the author suddenly decided that it’s time for Lina to stop telling her story. However it was just a little thing compare to all the good this book has. In the end, although I felt sorry and sad while reading this book, it taught me a lot of important things about life and human being. And it surely a worth reading book.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars

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