Published: March 22, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Page Count: 338 pages
It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's 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?
Brilliance is inbetween these pages. Ruta Sepetys has written a beautiful, heartbreaking and wonderful story about breaking the silence and letting the world know of important history.
I actually had the very awesome chance to meet Ruta at an event in Nashville, Tennessee, and even got to take a photo with her! And I just wanted to thank Ruta for writing this novel. I hate to admit, but I don't know if I wouldn't have known about this important piece of world history. And I'm glad that I learned about this tragedy, because it is important.
Not to mention heartbreaking. This book took a mallet and smashed my heart into tiny pieces. I'm a guy, so I don't get sad at most things in books, but seriously, I felt so much sorrow and sadness (and even teared up a bit!) for these characters and the situations that they were thrown into. Every page made me want to reach into the book and hug these characters. I was rooting for them to get their happily ever after the entire time!
Lina was such a great character. I connected with her character instantly, and never once did she ever annoy me or make my eyes roll, which unfortunately happens with some protagonists. The author made this character so believable and so pure, it was just amazing. Not just Lina, but I loved *almost* every character in this novel! Except for the bad guys and the man with the broken leg, obviously. These characters were put through so much in this novel, and I had felt a deep connection with them. Weird as that may sound, it's true.
Each scene in BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY felt so vivid, and I felt like I had been thrown back in time with these characters. And when they reached their destination (more like prison), I just wanted to help them out somehow. And don't even get me started on Ruta Sepetys's wonderful writing style! I was sucked into the story immediately, and I never wanted to set the novel down. Her writing style was just so great and beautiful; I can't recommend this book enough!
Overall, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is an absolute must-read. Heartbreaking, beautiful and fantastic, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY will captivate you until you've finished the novel.