Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Genre:  Historical Fiction, WWII
Pages: 344 (Hardback)
Website | Author's Website | Author's Facebook
Chosen because of Blogger Review (I don't remember who...sorry)

From the Front Flap:
Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth?  That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.
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?

My Rating:

My Review
Lina and her family were among many people who were considered Anti-Soviet.  This is a story that tells how one family attempts to survive the deportation, imprisonment, and starvation during 1941.  Many books written about this period try to demonstrate the affect of Nazi and Hitler German on the surrounding nations.  However, this book sheds light on a monstrocity that occurs during the same period by Josef Stalin.  The writing is incredible and uses well-placed flashbacks to develop the characters.

I loved everything about this book.  I loved how much Lina cared about her family.  I understood her anger toward those around her.  Interestingly, she gave nicknames to many of the people surrounding her (which I thought was annoying in a previous book) but these nicknames were descriptive rather than random.  I also loved how Lina grew as a person throughout the book.  I also enjoyed the writing style.  I loved everything about this book and have no critiques or negatives to add.

This story is engrossing from the very beginning and it stays with you well after it ends.
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