Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray (edition 2012)

by Ruta Sepetys

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,7411984,057 (4.29)92
Title:Between Shades of Gray
Authors:Ruta Sepetys
Info:Speak (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Tags:P12, historical, world war 2, soviet, Lithuania, Siberia, NKVD, suspenseful, winter, adventure

Work details

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  1. 50
    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
    All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (ashleeeyyy88)
  3. 10
    The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail (joyfulgirl)
  4. 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
  5. 00
    Night by Elie Wiesel (ashleeeyyy88)
  6. 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.
  7. 00
    The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Milda-TX)
  8. 00
    Torn Thread by Anne Isaacs (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In these deeply moving novels based on grim historical facts, teenage girls exiled from their homes do backbreaking work in labor camps, one in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and the other in Siberia, while fighting hunger, illness, and despair… (more)
  9. 00
    Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov (dreamydress48)
    dreamydress48: Siberian work camps theme.
  10. 00
    The Road of Bones by Anne Fine (celerydog)
    celerydog: challenging WW2 YA read
  11. 00
    Between the Stillness and the Grove by Erika De Vasconcelos (VivienneR)
  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 An important historical document.
  13. 00
    Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These two historical fiction novels for teens introduce readers to little-known atrocities of war. Although grim in nature, both books are compelling and eye-opening looks into the horrors that have happened to people because of their nationalities or ethnic backgrounds.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 92 mentions

English (194)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  English (Middle) (1)  German (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
Like my friend who piqued my interest in this book, I knew of Hitler's atrocities during the war, but I had little knowledge of the extent of Stalin's terror. This book is an amazing story of the strength, courage, and suffering of the Baltic people at the hands of Stalin. I could not put down the book, and constantly found myself wondering how anyone could survive such inhumane conditions. Ruta Sepetys has done an incredible job of telling their story in a manner that does not allow the reader to forget what took place. It's a remarkable first novel by the author, and one which I believe will be shared by readers assuring that what took place in the Baltic countries in 1941 will long be remembered. ( )
  Nancy_Archdekin | Jan 4, 2015 |
A harrowing read, but I am glad to have read it, as it was a part of history I knew nothing about (the deportation and genocide of Lithuanians by Stalin, during WW2). My favorite parts were Lina's use of her art to survive emotionally, and her mother's strength and kindness.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
First, *do not* confuse this book with the other "shades of grey" series... it is not at all related!

I'd read Ruta Sepetys' book, Out of Easy, and enjoyed it... but, wow, this one is a keeper. I listened to the audio version, and was so pleasantly surprised to find that Sepetys herself reads the epilogue and describes the Lithuanian history behind the story. While it takes place during WWII, it's a story few of us have heard anything about... the fate of the Baltic nations when Stalin claimed Russian ownership of these nations and imprisoned these peoples (women and children in Siberia) in an effort to "cleanse" the region. While this sounds like an awful, difficult story to read, it's told from the perspective of a young artistic teen girl who is ever hopeful for the time when her family gets to return home. The character development and the contextual descriptions are flawless. I cannot recommend it enough. ( )
  asawyer | Dec 31, 2014 |
This is a bittersweet fictional story based on historical events. The way that Lina, her family, and all the others suffered is horrific, but their strength and conviction is admirable. The characters in this book are well-developed and draw you into the story. ( )
  triplet1976 | Dec 14, 2014 |
It's the last thing 15-year-old Lina expects: in the middle of the night, the secret police pound on the door of her family's house. Lina, her mother, and her brother Jonas are taken from their comfortable home in Lithuania and forced onto a train that will take them to Siberia. It will be many years before Lina is able to return to her home. Worse, her father is also taken, but in a different direction, to a different work camp. Lina and her family struggle to stay together, to find a way to contact Lina's father, and to survive the terrible conditions as they are moved from one train car to another, one work camp to another. Lina doesn't even know what crime she is supposed to have committed. She is often cold, often hungry, often tired, but despite all of this, there is still hope and love. There is still life.

This is an excellent book about an oft-overlooked part of history -- while everybody knows about the atrocities committed by Hitler, fewer realize that Stalin was, if anything, worse. Lina's story is presented plainly, but the bare humanity of the situation does not need fancy writing to add impact. I found this book gripping, reading the whole thing in a day, almost in one sitting.

I feel a personal connection to this story. Though my great-grandparents left Lithuania in the 1920's, they may have left behind friends and relatives who witnessed or endured the sort of hardship described in this book, as the author's note quotes an estimate that the Baltic states lost more than a third of their population under Stalin's regime. That's an appalling statistic, and though Lina's story is fiction, it's well-researched and accurate, based on the experiences of real people. That makes this book a difficult read, at times, but also a powerful one. Highly recommended. ( )
  foggidawn | Nov 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
In memory of Jonas Sepetys
First words
They took me in my nightgown.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 avail.
601 wanted
6 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.29)
2 5
2.5 2
3 62
3.5 24
4 182
4.5 43
5 223


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 95,131,483 books! | Top bar: Always visible