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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray (edition 2011)

by Ruta Sepetys

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1332912,670 (4.26)167
Title:Between Shades of Gray
Authors:Ruta Sepetys
Info:Philomel (2011), Hardcover, 344 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  1. 60
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  12. 00
    Leave Your Tears in Moscow by Barbara Armonas (fountainoverflows)
    fountainoverflows: A book which Sepetys alludes to in her author's note and from which she drew some of the incidents that appear in Between Shades of Gray. An important historical document.
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» See also 167 mentions

English (286)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Piratical (1)  Italian (1)  English (Middle) (1)  All languages (296)
Showing 1-5 of 286 (next | show all)
If ever there were a story which helped one to see how love is our salvation, this is it.

I broke my own rule, which is to write my own review before I read someone else's. Having read Maggie Stiefvater's review, all I really want to do is reprint hers. This might not be fair or legal, so instead, just scroll until you find hers!

( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
This book is by the same author that wrote Salt to the Sea, which I loved. You have to keep in mind when reading her writing that this is a YA book, but the character development and plot in this book was weak -- especially compared to Salt to the Sea. I was disappointed in the writing only because I know how well this writer can put together a story. ( )
  kerryp | Apr 30, 2019 |
The book is written as teen literature, but the story is so troubling that perhaps it is more "manageable" from the voice of a child. I was unaware of the people from these Eastern European nations who were forced into work camps in Siberia by the Russians - they faced horrors from both Stalin and Hitler. It is a sad, sad tale, but an important one. ( )
  anitatally | Feb 28, 2019 |
I loved this book, couldn't quit reading....I love small chapters, so important for a person with a short attention span! Whatever it was titled, it was a fascinating story of mans inhumanity to man...the 1940's weren't that long ago, how could the world sit by and let those atrocities happen? What is going on today in 2019? what will people 80 years from now say about us and how we allowed things to happen? ( )
  ccheripka | Feb 10, 2019 |
I have read several historical fiction books covering aspects of WWII, but never one that covers Stalin's persecution of the Baltic states. In fact, even though I knew that he had annexed these areas, I had no idea that so many people had been illegally imprisoned or killed.

The story begins in 1941 when Lina Vilkas is fifteen and excited about her future as an artist. She has just been accepted into a prestigious art program. Stalin's annextion of her home country of Lithuania is a fact, although the actual takeover is not part of this story. The family is living happily until the moment their home is invaded by the NKVD and they are dragged away in the middle of the night. Along with her mother and brother, Lina is condemned as an enemy of the Soviet state. They're forced onto a train that makes a long, horrendous journey to Siberia, where many of the arrested die along the way. Through her artwork, Lina tries to make contact with her father. She draws everything and hides her art so it will not be found. Her emotions pour out into her work and the descriptions are wonderful. Lina is strong and willful. She refuses to die and give up anything to the Soviets. She even finds love along the way. The Soviets tried to take everything from her life, but they can't break her. It is truly humbling to read the accounts of the atrocities that occurred during this campaign. The fact that these people never gave up and some eventually returned to their home countries is mind blowing. The will to live is a powerful thing.

This is a book of Historical Fiction, although to write this book, Ruta Sepetys met with people who had survived the deportations and their family members, as well as historians and government officials. She also listed books she used for some of her research. The impetus for her was her father's family who were caught up in the deportations. Make sure to read the author's note at the end of the book. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 286 (next | show all)
Hope Morrison (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, May 2011 (Vol. 64, No. 9))
This harrowing novel recalls the systematic deportation of thousands of Lithuanians following the Soviet invasion of their country in 1939. Fifteen-year-old Lina, along with her mother and younger brother, is taken during the night and shipped off on a freight car for a six-week journey to a labor camp in Siberia. After spending nearly a year there, her family is again deported, this time to a frigid outpost in the northernmost region of Siberia, where survival seems unlikely. Conditions in the camps are horrendous, with inmates forced to perform hard labor in exchange for bread rations and denied the basic necessities of warmth, shelter, and sanitation. Abuse at the hands of the NKVD (Soviet police) is abundant, and horrific acts of violence punctuate the narrative. A talented artist, Lina draws for an outlet—; more importantly, she creates pictures full of coded information that she hopes will somehow get to her father, who is suspected to be in a Soviet prison. Lina’s voice offers a careful balance of emotional engagement and factual summary, providing a compelling account of this seldom-told chapter of history. The novel provides a testament to the power of community, as the deportees keep one another strong through the most traumatic events and hold on to their will to survive in the direst of survival situations. Readers will want to know more at the end, since an epilogue suggests that Lina survived and returned to Lithuania but leaves many questions unanswered; ultimately, however, this is a powerful story that deserves extensive reading and discussion. An author’s note, encouraging readers to learn more about the events in the book, is included. Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 2006, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2011, Philomel, 344p., $17.99. Grades 8-12.

added by kthomp25 | editBulletin of the Center for Children’s Books,, Hope Morrison
Judy Brink-Drescher (VOYA, April 2011 (Vol. 34, No. 1))
Up until the night the Russian military pounded on her door, fifteen-year-old Lina lived a nearly idyllic life. She had recently been accepted to a prestigious art school and was told she had a very promising future. Now, men speaking a strange language are telling her mother that the family is being deported from their Lithuanian homeland. Without knowing the precise whereabouts of their father, Lina, her mother, and brother soon find themselves packed into a cattle car with many other frightened countrymen. With the help of sixteen-year-old Andrius, Lina discovers her father is on the same train but bound for a different destination. She decides to document all she can in images so he can find them later. Unbeknownst to anyone, many would not survive this trip, and those that did would end up in Siberian labor camps. It was also under these circumstances that Lina and Andrius discover the true meaning of family, love, and loss. In the shadow of the Holocaust, many might be unfamiliar with Stalin’s orchestrated genocide of the Baltic States. The first deportations began in 1941; many were unable to return to their homeland until the mid-1950s. Sepetys’s father and many of her relatives were among those who either managed to escape into refugee camps or were deported or imprisoned. In her debut novel, Sepetys offers both a compelling love story and a well-researched historical chronicle. The themes throughout this novel are mature, and therefore the book is recommended for high school and above. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2011, Philomel, 352p., $17.99. Ages 15 to 18.

added by kthomp25 | editVOYA, Judy Brink-Drescher

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sepetys, Rutaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bernard, MichèleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of Jonas Sepetys
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They took me in my nightgown.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author's family, includes a historical note.… (more)

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