Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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Genre: Young-Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 344
Series: None
Release Date: March 22, 2011

Star

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Between Shades of Gray is the book that might make more open to reading historical fiction. I’ve always found history to be horrifically boring but this book taught me that it doesn’t always have to be.

It tells the story of a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl, Lina. During the second world war, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (and other countries) were invaded by Russia. A large population of these countries’ people were deported and sent to labour camps, forced to live in abhorrent conditions. Lina and her family were also deported, and this book tells their story.

It’s quite a horrifying tale. Ruta Sepetys used a simple writing style that had a wonderful, easy flow to it and that focused more on the events and less on the gruesome details. But that doesn’t stop you from being appalled, and very confused (though that may just be me), by the inhumanity of humans. This is not a novel that’s difficult to read, you don’t find yourself getting choked up, but it does leave you thinking, wondering, how and why people can be so monsterous to each other.

I really liked this book. It was a short and easy, yet thought-provoking, read. I loved the way the author chose to tell the tale. I also loved the author’s note at the end. If you read this book, please read that note. It gives insight into the significance of the events and characters featured. It gives the book a lot more weight.

Overall, this was great read and told a story that’s not very well-known. I would have liked to be a little more invested in the characters, emotionally; I mean, I cared about the events, and people, as a whole, but not individually. And thought that didn’t take much away from my reading experience, I still thought it was something worth mentioning.

I highly recommend reading this book or at least looking up the history of Lithuania during the second world war. More people need to know about what many survived.

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