Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys
(Kindle, Historical Fiction)

Synopsis taken from Goodreads: Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages 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, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

My thoughts: One word. Unforgettable.

Some of the scenes are forever etched in my heart and it was difficult to read through, especially those involving the Soviet soldiers and officers brutalizing people. When I think about the 1940's and the World War II era involving Europe, I usually picture Hitler and his crimes against humanity. I didn't know about this piece of history involving Stalin's plan to exile Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians during World War II. 

If you don't read young adult books at all, you must read Between Shades of Gray, it's one of the most moving and haunting stories, it's very powerful and excellent for any age group.


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I've had it on my reading list for a year now -- must bump it up the list.

    P.S. Love the blog's new look.

  2. Oh thank goodness! Finally, a 'grey' book that I will read! Thanks for the great review, Jovi. I'm going to add it to my list.

    1. Oh yes I know all about 'grey' It was great to 'see' you Thanh, thsnks for stopping by.