Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys


Series:Standalone
Genre:YA Historical Fiction
Published by:Philomel Books
Publication date:3/22/2011
ISBN13:9780399254123
Pages:344
Format:Hardcover
Source:Library

Synopsis

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.

My Thoughts


I knew Stalin was a sadist, but geez. This book is of course fiction, however, the things that happened to Lina and her family really did happen to millions of people. Stalin was a paranoid that's for sure so even though the Gulag type system has been around since the time of the czars Stalin found a way to make it into a great big killing machine. Not only a place for prisoners of war or citizens from countries that came under communist rule, the Gulag did not discriminate taking in even small children, anyone viewed not just as criminals but as enemies of communism (including some people that were communist, but apparently not the right kind of communist) were forced into these camps and worked to death. Or died of disease or starvation. Some people actual just froze to death. I compared Lina's story to true survivor stories and found that they were shockingly similar. The cattle trains, the starvation, lice, disease, rapes, beatings, the cold weather, and the forced hard labor killed millions of people yet not many people know about it. I am glad that at the end we do get to find out what happened to Lina and that there wasn't just a big gapping hole at the end. Wonderfully raw and emotional you realize that circumstances could just have easily been reversed, you could have been a girl just like Lina and she could be you.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

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