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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
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Between Shades of Gray (edition 2011)

by Ruta Sepetys

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,531None4,790 (4.31)84
Member:PaulCranswick
Title:Between Shades of Gray
Authors:Ruta Sepetys
Info:Penguin (2011), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Modern Fiction, To read
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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

2011 (19) 2012 (17) 2013 (20) death (19) deportation (26) ebook (11) family (27) fiction (91) genocide (51) historical (38) historical fiction (173) history (16) Holocaust (15) labor camps (54) Lithuania (144) novel (10) prison camp (20) read in 2011 (11) Russia (60) Siberia (98) Soviet Union (58) Stalin (60) survival (56) teen (16) to-read (99) war (25) WWII (138) YA (90) young adult (85) young adult fiction (19)
  1. 40
    The Endless Steppe: Growing Up in Siberia by Esther Hautzig (keristars)
    keristars: "The Endless Steppe" is also a children's book about the exile of Russian Jews to Siberia during WW2.
  2. 10
    The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail (joyfulgirl)
  3. 10
    The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Great stories of hope and survival in the face of brutality and genocide
  4. 00
    Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov (dreamydress48)
    dreamydress48: Siberian work camps theme.
  5. 00
    Between the Stillness and the Grove by Erika De Vasconcelos (VivienneR)
  6. 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 An important historical document.
  7. 00
    Man Is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag by Janusz Bardach (fountainoverflows)
    fountainoverflows: A well-written and extraordinary memoir of a man's survival of the gulag. His story also starts in Lithuania during WW2.
  8. 00
    The Road of Bones by Anne Fine (celerydog)
    celerydog: challenging WW2 YA read
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» See also 84 mentions

English (182)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  English (Middle) (1)  All languages (188)
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
This is story about a Lina a 15 year old Lithuanian girl who along with her mother and brother are awoken up one night and told by the NKVD they had only minutes to get dressed and bring warm clothes. They were took and put in a truck with other people who were also arrested they were took to the train station and then separated in to groups. Then made to get in a dirty cattle train car and they were in the train car for weeks on weeks. With little or no food other than what the NKVD gave out each day which was a bucket of gruel or oatmeal type food and bucket of water for everyone in the cattle car.

In School we were taught about how Hilter and his army terrized the people of his country and we were told about Stalin how he was like Hitler but I never knew just how much he was like Hitler till I read this book it was like Stalin and Hitler were trying to outdo each other by seeing who could take over the most countries and wipe out the most people. The Author Ruta Sepetys tells us that the Story of the Baltic people’s genocide is basically unknown.This book is a must read for teens to adults this is book would be a great book for history and government teachers. ( )
  AudryS13 | Mar 28, 2014 |
Thanks to Jane M for the Potluck Book Club pick! This is a hideously painful story of yet another genocidal event of which most of us are unaware: the mass deportation of the citizens of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia by Stalin during WW II. As these countries remained in the Soviet sphere, there was very little published or known in the outside world about the horror of the work camps in Siberia and even in the Arctic Circle and the bravery of the murdered and the survivors. This is classified as a YA but should be mandatory reading beside The Diary of Anne Frank. What a very poignant, well written account, with the exception of the epilogue, which is jammed in at the end where the subsequent lives of Lina, Jonas, and Andrius deserve a longer book or a sequel. Vast praise to Ruta Sepetys for a fine and unforgettable effort. ( )
  froxgirl | Mar 16, 2014 |
"I wrote the book but, really, history wrote the story" -Ruta Sepetys

Wow...this is a difficult review to write because this was such an incredible, emotionally powerful story, I’m having a hard time finding the right words. I do want to say that Emily Klein did an OUTSTANDING job narrating this audio. I’m so glad that I chose to download the audio from Audible. Emily Klein’s narration was such that it immediately pulled me into the story and I felt like I was listening to Lina as she recounted what happened to her and her family. I also especially enjoyed listening to the author explain, at the end of the audio, a bit about the history behind this story and her inspiration for writing this book. I was completely clueless about this part of history but it’s certainly a story that needs to be told.

Between Shades of Gray tells a fictional story based around historical events that I am ashamed to say I was not aware of. During the time that Hitler was in power, he made a pact of non-aggression with Stalin in Russia which ceded several countries including Lithuania to Stalin. Stalin began arresting everyone who he believed may have anti-soviet leanings, men, women and children. Between Shades of Gray begins with Lina and her family being dragged from their home at gunpoint without explanation, loaded onto trains and shipped off. They had no idea where they were headed, all they knew was that there were hundreds of others in the same situation as they were, shoved like animals in a cattle cart on a train far away from everything they know. Lina tells about the journey, the struggles, the atrocities, and the kindnesses they found in the most unexpected places along the way.

It was those unexpected kindnesses and the moments of compassion and quiet strength that the author highlighted so beautifully that it left me a sobbing mess several times. The needless cruelties of some of the guards were in some ways shocking, but in some ways expected, because, far too often, its people that enjoy causing others’ misery that usually seek out these positions of power. One of the things that the author was able to convey was that, it is in the most dire circumstances that the truth of a person’s character becomes known. I think that some people would be surprised at some of the cruel things they may be willing to do to each other for the sake of their family’s and their own survival, just as I think they would be surprised at what they would be willing to risk in order to help a stranger. It’s amazing how far the human spirit can bend without ever being broken, and even then come back from such a unimaginably horrific ordeal and somehow be stronger and wiser and still have the capacity for love and compassion. Between Shades of Gray contains layer upon layer of truths about human nature, about love, about hope, and about determination intertwined into this heartfelt story that on the surface seems so hopeless and sad. The fact that the survivors of this had the foresight to bury the photos and letters and records of this time period so that their story could one day be told just astounds me.

I think that Between Shades of Gray is such an important story for a few reasons. First, to acknowledge what happened to the millions of Lithuanian people who died in these prisons and camp and those who survived to tell the story. Also, to be aware of the things a corrupt system is capable of. I recommend Between Shades of Gray to everyone.
( )
  a.happy.booker | Mar 14, 2014 |
A haunting piece of historical fiction. There were parts I wished to not hear, but the balance between knowing the truth and the book being too graphic was never crossed. I was shocked to feel like I didn't know about these parts of history. Great complement to a unit on the holocaust, WW2, Russian history, Lithuanian history, etc. The book includes many of the girl's childhood memories which are integrated seamlessly into the horrors she is experiencing. The author acknowledges the hard part of the human condition- that we are not all evil or good. ( )
  GR8inD8N | Mar 13, 2014 |
A book that was hard, and kind of disturbing. But good, necessary?, history to know.

Will some of us experience this? Will the rest of us hid behind curtains watching? Good questions to think through... ( )
  ReaderThinker | Feb 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 182 (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
 
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In memory of Jonas Sepetys
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They took me in my nightgown.
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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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