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Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
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Between Shades of Gray (edition 2012)

by Ruta Sepetys

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6861934,238 (4.3)89
Member:Beth.Albrecht
Title:Between Shades of Gray
Authors:Ruta Sepetys
Info:Speak (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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 An important historical document.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)
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» See also 89 mentions

English (189)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  English (Middle) (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 189 (next | show all)
New York Times Notable Book
International Bestseller
Carnegie Medal Nominee
Golden Kite Award Winner

In my opinion this is an excellent book. The characters are well developed and provided the reader with a “real-life” experience to the treatment of Latvian women under Hitler and Stalin’s conquests. The first person point of view, from Lina, helps to expand the character development and the experience the reader gets to engage in. The suspenseful plot helps keep the reader engaged and evoke emotions from the reader of empathy, anger, and shame. Anger when the family is split up and thrown into cattle cars, empathy when a women loses her child to death, the group is starving, and the Soviets treat them as thieves and prostitutes, and shame throughout the novel due to the fact that this part of history is rarely taught or known about. Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys, explains the deportation of those who the Soviets deemed to be anti-Soviet from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia during the second World War. The novel follows Lina, her mother and younger brother’s journey. The family separated from her father and sent to their final destination in Siberia on cattle cars by the Soviet, also known as NKVD, officers. In the cattle car Lina and her brother, Jonas, meet a young boy by the name of Andrius. His mother who claims he’s mentally challenged saves Andrius, whose father was a Latvian General. Lina and her family depend on Andrius and his mother throughout the novel. Andrius is able to provide food, explain information and be a friend. Lina’s mother also exchanges her valuables to help provided for the family. Throughout the novel, Andrius and Lina get very close and promise to find each other again after the deportation is over. Lina and her family get sent to Siberia without Andrius and his mother. This is difficult for Lina but Siberia tests her survival more. Eventually Lina and Andrius find each other and share there equally testing stories about a harsh time in history to those who will listen. The two also get married. The big picture that this novel makes the reader think about is how valuable is a human life. ( )
  MelynnReadmond | Oct 6, 2014 |
I don't know why I always put off reading historical fiction because I always like them. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
Note: This is an old review I wrote over a year ago and never posted. Whoops.

As I sit here, rubbing the bridge of my nose, I can already tell this is going to be a difficult review to write. Not because of the book itself. Between Shades of Gray has received a bunch of awards and even more praise from various corners of the internet, and rightly so. It’s a very pretty book that deals with heavy topics and is bound to end up on school reading lists across the nation.

Really, I suppose it’s my fault. I waited too long to review this book, and now I’ve found I don’t have much to say, but I’ll give it a try.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW AT: http://www.shaelit.com/2014/07/review-between-shades-of-gray-by-ruta-septys/ ( )
  Shelver506 | Jul 30, 2014 |
This story tells the horrors of Lithuanian citizens as they're taken from their homes during WWII by the Soviets and sent to prisons and the gulags. Specifically, we follow 15 year-old Lina, her younger brother, and her mother as they're taken and transferred to several work camps and prisons. Their living conditions are deplorable yet hope and love carry on. This is a quick, but terrifying, read. ( )
  Jarratt | Jul 27, 2014 |
It was a very interesting subject, and one that I have a little knowledge of, since I teach Animal Farm. However, the writing was very simplistic--more like a middle school level, even though the protagonist is 15 when the book begins. I read lots of complaints that the book ends abruptly, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. ( )
  darcy36 | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 189 (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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