Sunday, October 21, 2012

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

5 stars

In the year 1941, fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas and her family were forced to leave their home by the NKVD, Stalin’s army of Soviets. The Soviets place Lina, her mother, and brother on a train with a group of other people in a tiny overcrowded car. Lina and her family keep hope that one day they’ll be reunited with her father who was separated from them. As they fight for their survival, they must keep each other alive and hope for freedom. It took me eleven days to read this book. It took me so long not because I didn’t like this book or was bored by it, but the fact that with every page there was a new horror or tragedy forced upon Lina and I needed to take a break from the sadness and despair. I love books like this. This is the kind of book to make you think, “What if that would’ve been me? What would I have done?” I don’t think I would’ve been brave enough to do half the stuff Lina did or maybe I would, but let’s hope I never have to find out. I’ve never heard of Lithuanians and Soviets or Stalin or the NKVD. When I think of this time period I think of Pearl Harbor or Hitler and the Nazis. I’m sad to admit that but I don’t have hardly any knowledge in this tragedy that was bestowed upon the world, but now I do have some even if most of it was from the Author’s Note. I now know something.

The female main character is Lina. Lina is an artist, but she’s also strong willed, stubborn, hopeful, and a fighter. I guess in some ways you could compare her to Anne Frank if you wanted to, but I don’t. Lina is a strong character and she was full of hope. Hope that she would see her father again, hope she and her family would return to Lithuania, hope she would see the next day, and hope that her family was safe. Lina will always have a special place in my heart as a fighter.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 10

The main male character is… Andrius, I guess you could consider him to be that. I loved Andrius even when he and Lina were fighting. Andrius was just as much as a fighter Lina. He fought to protect his mom even when it was obvious that he couldn’t against the NKVD. He cared about people, whether it was Jonas, Lina, Lina’s mother, or anyone else. He would smuggle food to people and help them as much as he could. Even though I cried at the ending I couldn’t but smile when I read that one line that confirmed what I hoped would happen.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 9

The Villain- The NKVD are the villains, but the commander of the beet farm Lina and her family were at, Kretzsky, and Stalin are the most prominent. Stalin is the reason Lithuanians are being forced out of their homes and killed and starved. The commander was a pig for what he did to Lina and I couldn’t stand how he treated people. Kretzsky… I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t. From the moment I started to see his name more on the beet farm I had a feeling he wasn’t all what he seemed. In this case he was painted as the villain, but turned out to be a hero.

Villain Scale: 10

Lina’s mother was a great mother and she loved her children. She fought for them and other people as well. Jonas, Lina’s brother, was adorable and I liked him. There are so many other characters and I don’t want to name them all because meeting them was like meeting a new person and I feel like if you haven’t read the book you should be able to meet these other people on your own.

Character Scale: 10

I loved the writing; it was simplistic, but telling and never too wordy. I liked how there was small passages about Lina’s past and how some of that tied into what was happening even if it didn’t seem like it at the time. My little sister let me borrow this book after she bought it at the book fair and all I have to say is that I’m glad she let me borrow it because of it I’ve met characters that will stay in my heart, new knowledge, and a book I will never forget.

Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. It’s beautiful and after reading the story it makes a little more sense. I just love the cover and it’s beautiful. Need I say more?


  1. Ahhh, yay!!!! You loved it!!! Whoop whoop! i actually like the hardcover cover but needless to say, this book was wonderful. :)

    on a side note: so many people thought the ending was incomplete but I thought it was perfect.

    1. Haha Thanks, Delaney! I thought the ending was perfect, too. :D

  2. Oh! is that good? I've had it in my list for a while.