Between Shades Of Gray
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Summary: 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.
This novel was heart-breaking, terrifying, but absolutely brilliant!
Ruta’s lyrical writing style captured the emotions one wold feel during this time perfectly.
With her writing style, I could really see the relationships and emotion she built with each page of this story.
Similar to Paper Wishes, this novel focused on another side of WW2 that I don’t think I’ve read much about! Which is good, because diverse stories such as this one, teach us about experiences/events that open our eyes to knowledge that we would have never known!
In terms of plot it was very sad, but Lina was a brave and strong main character all throughout.
Forced to work in a camp, she comes to learn more about what is happening to her country and grows even more. Trying to find her father, she writes letters to him, with the hope that she will see her father again.
The characters were all wonderfully developed! Lina’s mother, Jonas, Andrius, even Kretzsky, who was awful in the beginning, we see changes and helps the other survivors when they get relocated.
I did take away a star b/c at some points the story’s pace was a little slow..
Overall this book while very sad, reminds us about the other sides of history that shouldn’t be forgotten!
If you’ve read this book/are planning to let me know in the comments below! 🙂