Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys reads much like a memoir. In 1941, fifteen year old Lina and her family are whisked away; she, her mother, and her younger brother are shoved into a cramped train car and taken to a labor camp while her father has been arrested. There’s so much weaved into this story; the cruelty and brutality are harsh, yet the strength, love, and characters sit so strongly in the reader’s mind. Each character–even the antagonists–are whole and complex.
We do not have much else to say about the book except that most of us really enjoyed it; some of us were also unaware of the brutality committed to the Lithuanians under Stalin’s orders; we suspected surely, but here is a haunting look. Sepetys’ writing is amazing and entirely capturing. She’s got an admirable talent for weaving in small slivers of hope even during dark and futile moments. The only true criticism we have about the novel is that the ending is bit abrupt; we would have liked to explore what happened to the characters during a rather large time jump toward the end.
Our average rating is a whopping 4.4 stars!
Watch Ruta Sepetys discussing Between Shades of Gray: