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
2,4342542,540 (4.25)139
Title:Between Shades of Gray
Authors:Ruta Sepetys
Info:Speak (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  1. 60
    The endless Steppe 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. 20
    Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail (joyfulgirl)
  3. 20
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Great stories of hope and survival in the face of brutality and genocide
  4. 10
    Night by Elie Wiesel (ashleeeyyy88)
  5. 10
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (ashleeeyyy88)
  6. 00
    The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer (Milda-TX)
  7. 00
    The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years by Chingiz Aitmatov (Othemts)
  8. 00
    Stalemate by Icchokas Meras (Othemts)
  9. 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)
  10. 00
    Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov (dreamydress48)
    dreamydress48: Siberian work camps theme.
  11. 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.
  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 An important historical document.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
    The Road of Bones by Anne Fine (celerydog)
    celerydog: challenging WW2 YA read
  14. 00
    Between the Stillness and the Grove by Erika De Vasconcelos (VivienneR)
  15. 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 139 mentions

English (249)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  English (Middle) (1)  Piratical (1)  German (1)  All (257)
Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book, because throughout the whole book I was fully engaged in it. I would recommend this book for people who like history because it takes place during World War 1. The main character is called Lina. She is very artistic and is close to her family. The book starts off with her family being taken away from their home and none of them know whats going on. Throughout the novel Lina writes to her dad which she doesn't know if he is alive. She is also draws pictures depicting how poorly everyone is treated in the camps. In the story Lina also has a love interest which makes the book more interesting than it already is. I enjoyed this book very much because it showed me a side of World War 1 that I never really knew about. Most people talk about the Holocaust and not about Stalin and how he treated his people. This book talks about Stalin which was very engaging. Overall, I enjoyed this read. ( )
  brirubii101 | Jan 23, 2017 |

"Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Peteys
Such a small book with such an astounding story inside.
We all know about Hitler and what he did, but not so much about Stalin. He murdered over 20,000,000 innocent people and tortured countless others.
This is a sad story of historical fiction, yet there are glimmers of hope. The majority of this well researched and documented story takes place inside the arctic circle aka The North Pole. Imagine not seeing the sun for 180 days.
You will understand the title as you read the last couple of pages where your spine will tingle.

1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina's father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.
Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they 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, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
Between Shades of Gray is a riveting novel that steals your breath, captures your heart, and reveals the miraculous nature of the human spirit. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
“Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy---love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.” – Ruta E Sepetys

This is the story of a 15 year old girl taken from her home in Lithuania at the start of World War II. Her father is sent to prison but her mother, 10 year old brother, and her are sent to work camps. As expected, travel and living conditions are deplorable but strangers come together to fight for survival. The bonds formed out of necessity turn into true emotional bonds. The above quote says it all.

Whereas this is considered a Young Adult novel, adults will enjoy it just as much. Parts of the storyline are predictable but that can happen when reading historical fiction. Overall, it is a completely fabulous story that I highly recommend.
( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
The book for my family was hard to believe i was reading it. Reading because of all the moment and death But they came fine with the fact that i was reading it could not put it down. it was a sad book with all the deaths and family problems much to figure out about.I was Happy with the end and was a every good book for kid that want a little more freedom from the their parents books. ( )
  McMuffles | Dec 13, 2016 |
I felt slightly awkward reading this book in public, hoping no one would confuse it with the similarly titled bestseller by E.L. James. Originally I added it to my reading list because it was one of the few novels in the library catalog about Lithuania. Then, as I accumulated an excessive stack of books to read (of course), I worried that I'd never actually get around to reading it. But upon reading it, the book immediately drew me in.

The reality it describes is a harsh one. Soviet forces have occupied Lithuania, and World War II is raging. Having gotten on the wrong side of the Soviets, Lina and her family are snatched in the middle of the night, packed onto cattle cars labeled "Thieves and Prostitutes," and deported to Siberia. Separated from Lina's father, the remaining members of the family — Lina, her mother, and her younger brother, Jonas — struggle to stay together and support their companions from the journey. Considered enemies of the state, the deported Lithuanians face verbal and sexual abuse, starvation, and grueling labor. The degree to which they are made to suffer is shocking.

Despite the heavy nature of its content, the novel successfully hits a perfect tone for a young adult novel, deservedly conveying the horror of the Siberian work camps without making the reader lose faith in humanity. I was a little frustrated by Lina's mother's attempt to sympathize with one of her oppressors, but the author Ruta Sepetys nevertheless offers a vivid picture of the NKVD's brutality. The book is fast-paced, with short chapters and a gripping plot.

Besides having heard brief mentions here and there, I knew almost nothing about the labor camps in Siberia until reading this book. It fills an important niche, where literature is sorely lacking. I checked the library's catalog for more fiction on the topic and found only two titles: a suspense novel and a children's book. It's too bad, especially considering the context in which this novel was written. Lithuanians who survived labor camps to return to their country were forced to remain silent about their experiences for years, lest they be returned to the same hell.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 249 (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
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 (2)

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.
413 wanted
7 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.25)
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 5
3 83
3.5 35
4 250
4.5 48
5 293


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.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,765,965 books! | Top bar: Always visible