Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Published: 2011 by The Penguin Group
In 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?
”They took me in my nightgown.”
Oh my goodness.
This book was devastatingly beautiful and so inspiring.
Honestly nothing I can say can bring it justice, so this “review” will be very short.
I have read one other book (The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig) about the deportation to Siberia during WWII, but Between Shades of Gray takes it to a whole new level. The Endless Steppe dumbed some stuff down because it was put for a bit of a younger audience (but it was also written about the author’s actual experiences, so it’s completely legit), but Between Shades of Gray was so bold and truthful in every scene. I never felt that angry at the Soviets while reading The Endless Steppe. During this book I was furious. I know we all talk and know about the Germans and the concentration camps and the way they treated Jews, and yes all of that is equally as horrific. But we don’t learn as much about the other imprisonments, deportations, and completely inhumane treatment of humans that also occurred around the same time. This book opens your eyes to the true horror inflicted on people who did nothing wrong.
While it’s a story of despair and heartbreak, it’s also very inspiring and not a complete downer. And even if it was, I would still read it. Why? Because we need REAL stories that wake us up from our amazingly blessed lives and let us see the horrible things humans are capable of.
I would STRONGLY suggest reading this.
Content Warning: Um, read the description of the book. Do you THINK this book is going to be all innocent? Anyways, there’s cursing and the most graphic it gets is maybe when people get killed, and that’s not too graphic. But I feel like if you pick this book up you would realize what you’d be soon reading.