Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Paperback | April 3, 2012

byRuta Sepetys

not yet rated|write a review
"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both."--The Washington Post

From New York Times bestseller Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea

A New York Times notable book
An International Bestseller
A Carnegie Medal Nominee

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

A moving and haunting novel for readers of The Book Thief

Pricing and Purchase Info

$12.72 online
$12.99 list price
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

Between Shades of Gray

Paperback | April 3, 2012
In stock online Available in stores
$12.72 online $12.99

From the Publisher

"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both."--The Washington PostFrom New York Times bestseller Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea A New York Times notable bookAn International BestsellerA Carnegie Medal Nominee Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet...

Ruta Sepetys (www.rutasepetys.com) was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. She is the award-winning, bestselling author of BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, OUT OF THE EASY, and the upcoming SALT TO THE SEA. Ruta lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow her on Twitter at @RutaSepetys.

other books by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea
Salt To The Sea

Hardcover|Feb 2 2016

$22.56 online$24.99list price(save 9%)
Out Of The Easy
Out Of The Easy

Paperback|Mar 4 2014

$11.50 online$12.99list price(save 11%)
Big easy
Big easy

Mass Market Paperback|May 4 2016

$14.95

see all books by Ruta Sepetys
Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.96 inPublished:April 3, 2012Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014242059X

ISBN - 13:9780142420591

Customer Reviews of Between Shades of Gray

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This book has been on my TBR list for ages, and I am glad to have read it! The best historical fiction that I've read so far.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My First Ruta Love!! Ruta Sepetys is an exceptional writer who can keep you indulge for hours on end. You will within just the first pages be deep into their world. I feel completely in love with almost all the characters I feared for them and I cried for them. Absolutely recommend to anyone 14 plus.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 338 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 3 “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.” History fascinates me, especially little known events in history. So you can imagine my delight when I found out about Ruta Sepetys when her recent book, Salt to the Sea came out, as both Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray are about obscure historical events. I also had no Knowledge of Lithuania and I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Baltic countries. I like that Between Shades of Gray isn’t your average historical fiction. Reading about the horrors these people went through left bile in my throat. Unfortunately, the abnormally short chapters made me feel distanced from the characters, which is not helpful in a character driven book. The short chapters also made the story feel really fictional. I wasn’t hooked, it didn’t feel real, and it made the fact that real people went through this torture seem fake. I wasn’t a fan of Lina. I didn’t hate her, but something about her rubbed me the wrong way. Despite that, I liked that she was flawed and that she was by no means the hero. I also enjoyed the romance between her and Andrius, mostly because I liked Andrius and the romance was more of a background element than a key plot point. Overall, I think that Between the Shades is an important book to read, but it does have some issues, earning it 3 stars out of 5. Hopefully I will enjoy Salt to the Sea more
Date published: 2016-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing... I read this over a year ago. I was looking for something for my history, as my mom wanted me to read something non-dystopian/science fiction for once, and to be honest, I hate history with the passion. But, when I read this book, it captured me from the beginning. Lina's brutal journey and the things she faces make me feel the same pain she felt! I totally recommend this book. A great read, and something you'll be able to keep for a long time, and be able to read as many times as you want and you never get tired of it.
Date published: 2015-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Passionate Written with passion. Heart wre ching sadness, chin lifting hope, and deep love. Absolutely phenominal.
Date published: 2015-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was really good! In the historical fiction novel Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, hunger and sleep deprivation is a new constant in Lina and her family’s lives, along with constant death. The cruelty of the NKVD has caused death, sickness and jealousy. The novel takes place throughout the years 1941-1952 in most parts of Russia, the Arctic Circle and some small flashbacks of Lina’s life in Lithuania. The book takes place in trains, labor camps and in ships.The main protagonist, Lina is a sixteen year old art student who realizes during her time at the labor camps that life is a struggle. Her mother, Elena, the kindest of them all sacrifices everything for her children. And finally there is Jonas, Lina’s little brother, who gave up his mental innocence to mature too early to take care of his family. The main plot of this book is Lina and her family are deported and put through a course of tough situations like hunger, loneliness and sickness. Throughout the story Lina learns secrets and does things that put her life at risk. She meets friends and loses friends in the blink of an eye. I really enjoyed this book, I found that it was a fast read and I never lost interest. It was full of suspense and I found myself lost in the book. Although the book was excellent the ending seemed too rushed and it could’ve used a little more time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I would also recommend it to people like me who like fast read books, meaning shorter chapters but big events in those short chapters.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was really good! In the historical fiction novel Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, hunger and sleep deprivation is a new constant in Lina and her family’s lives, along with constant death. The cruelty of the NKVD has caused death, sickness and jealousy. The novel takes place throughout the years 1941-1952 in most parts of Russia, the Arctic Circle and some small flashbacks of Lina’s life in Lithuania. The book takes place in trains, labor camps and in ships.The main protagonist, Lina is a sixteen year old art student who realizes during her time at the labor camps that life is a struggle. Her mother, Elena, the kindest of them all sacrifices everything for her children. And finally there is Jonas, Lina’s little brother, who gave up his mental innocence to mature too early to take care of his family. The main plot of this book is Lina and her family are deported and put through a course of tough situations like hunger, loneliness and sickness. Throughout the story Lina learns secrets and does things that put her life at risk. She meets friends and loses friends in the blink of an eye. I really enjoyed this book, I found that it was a fast read and I never lost interest. It was full of suspense and I found myself lost in the book. Although the book was excellent the ending seemed too rushed and it could’ve used a little more time. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I would also recommend it to people like me who like fast read books, meaning shorter chapters but big events in those short chapters. I would rate this novel 4.5/5.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Book review for Bewtween Shades of Gray: I loved this book! “They took me in my nightgown.” There is instability in Lina’s world and all she can think is confusion. Why are these things happening to her and her family? That is the question asked throughout the entire novel Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, a historical fiction based in 1941, the Lithuanian war. June 1941 was the start of the adventure. The story takes place as the characters travel throughout Europe and Asia stopping in an Altai Labor Camp and the Arctic Circle. Elena Vilkas, mother of Jonas and Lina, has one of the most essential parts in this novel. Being someone who puts others before herself is the perfect character for this story. The author did a fantastic job creating her characters and they were exceptionally thought out. Andrius Arvydas a 17 year old boy was a character with a well- founded personality in this novel. He is a strong determined teen that doesn't let anyone change his mind set. He shows great courage and strength in the historical fiction and becomes not only a valuable friend to the characters but also becomes your companion as you get drawn to the story. Lina Vilkas, the protagonist of the book was also a character whose personality is shown deeper throughout the novel. Lina is a 15 year old girl who keeps her hope alive by living in her memories during the lowest time of her life. I truly connected to Lina throughout this novel, us being the same age. Yet I had a tough time relating to her adventures. I could not wrap my mind around reality that she was going through things that I would never go through in my life, especially now at 15. Lina is just like any other 15 year old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She hangs out with her cousin, draws, and has crushes on boys. But all this changes the day Soviet officers break into their house and take them for captive. Separated from their father, Lina and her mother and brother are unwillingly forced to obey the rules of the NKVD officers. Throughout the book, Lina and her family are held captive by the NKVD and are displayed as criminals and treated as slaves. They traveled by train, cattle cars and trucks through Asia and Europe halting only to work in labor camps where it was involuntary to work through raw bitter temperatures and storms, while feeding on next to nothing. But throughout this journey the characters not only constructed bonds but gained new strengths. They became fearless, courageous, diligent and most importantly grateful. I was not very fond of my book choice when I had chosen this book to read for a study in school, but now after reading, I have changed my perspective completely. Generally stories about war and refugees faintly interest me. I did some research only to find that there are many books written about Stalin’s power. Yet this one just seems to express the words in a different path that brings the story more to life. I have never read a story like this one before that left me wanting more information, more books and more interested in the war. I found the novel was so compelling and it pulled me into the depth of the story. Because it was written in the protagonists perspective, while reading I felt like I was grasping onto the thoughts that I was the main character of this novel. Ruta Sepetys did amazing work on this book, creating each and every character so that they would all tie together pleasingly in the novel. The historical fiction aspect of the story brings it even more to life and leaves its readers with not only a history lesson but also an inside look into what it would have been like to experience the scenes. I could presume that this book is recommended for young adults but could easily be enjoyed by anyone ages 15 and older. I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Date published: 2015-05-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys “They took me in my nightgown.” There is instability in Lina’s world and all she can think is confusion. Why are these things happening to her and her family? That is the question asked throughout the entire novel Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, a historical fiction based in 1941, the Lithuanian war. June 1941 was the start of the adventure. The story takes place as the characters travel throughout Europe and Asia stopping in an Altai Labor Camp and the Arctic Circle. Elena Vilkas, mother of Jonas and Lina, has one of the most essential parts in this novel. Being someone who puts others before herself is the perfect character for this story. The author did a fantastic job creating her characters and they were exceptionally thought out. Andrius Arvydas a 17 year old boy was a character with a well- founded personality in this novel. He is a strong determined teen that doesn't let anyone change his mind set. He shows great courage and strength in the historical fiction and becomes not only a valuable friend to the characters but also becomes your companion as you get drawn to the story. Lina Vilkas, the protagonist of the book was also a character whose personality is shown deeper throughout the novel. Lina is a 15 year old girl who keeps her hope alive by living in her memories during the lowest time of her life. I truly connected to Lina throughout this novel, us being the same age. Yet I had a tough time relating to her adventures. I could not wrap my mind around reality that she was going through things that I would never go through in my life, especially now at 15. Lina is just like any other 15 year old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She hangs out with her cousin, draws, and has crushes on boys. But all this changes the day Soviet officers break into their house and take them for captive. Separated from their father, Lina and her mother and brother are unwillingly forced to obey the rules of the NKVD officers. Throughout the book, Lina and her family are held captive by the NKVD and are displayed as criminals and treated as slaves. They traveled by train, cattle cars and trucks through Asia and Europe halting only to work in labor camps where it was involuntary to work through raw bitter temperatures and storms, while feeding on next to nothing. But throughout this journey the characters not only constructed bonds but gained new strengths. They became fearless, courageous, diligent and most importantly grateful. I was not very fond of my book choice when I had chosen this book to read for a study in school, but now after reading, I have changed my perspective completely. Generally stories about war and refugees faintly interest me. I did some research only to find that there are many books written about Stalin’s power. Yet this one just seems to express the words in a different path that brings the story more to life. I have never read a story like this one before that left me wanting more information, more books and more interested in the war. I found the novel was so compelling and it pulled me into the depth of the story. Because it was written in the protagonists perspective, while reading I felt like I was grasping onto the thoughts that I was the main character of this novel. Ruta Sepetys did amazing work on this book, creating each and every character so that they would all tie together pleasingly in the novel. The historical fiction aspect of the story brings it even more to life and leaves its readers with not only a history lesson but also an inside look into what it would have been like to experience the scenes. I could presume that this book is recommended for young adults but could easily be enjoyed by anyone ages 15 and older. I would rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Date published: 2015-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I bought this for my IB English final assignment and it totally blew my mind. An amazingly well written book on a piece of history noone really knows! Definitely would recommend :)
Date published: 2015-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful, Stunning Book This book completely blew me away. I became so absorbed. I found this at my school library, and realized it had the 'mature read' sticker. I was unsure at first, but when I read the back, I felt like I had to get it, everyone would enjoy this
Date published: 2014-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is my favorite book This has been my favorite book for 2 years. I got it when it first came out and I loved it. I just re-read it and all I can say is I wish every book was as half as good as this one. You will not regret reading it.
Date published: 2014-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BSOF Best book ever!
Date published: 2014-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Between Shades of Grey A power story, written beautifully. Krasivaya.
Date published: 2013-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book but Sad I could not put this book down. I read it in 2 days. It was sad but the accounts of this book are true.
Date published: 2012-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Book I had a very hard time putting this book down as I did not even realize that this war was on in the 1940's. I love the way its told thru a young girls eyes. Everyone of the people in this book had hidden secrets but at the end were revealed. Very touching, sad but at the end you saw a light at the end of the tunnel. It deserves 5 stars for sure and hope this author has more books to come.
Date published: 2012-05-04

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter 1:They took me in my nightgown.Thinking back, the signs were there—family photos burned in the fireplace, Mother sewing her best silver and jewelry into the lining of her coat late at night, and Papa not returning from work. My younger brother, Jonas, was asking questions. I asked questions, too, but perhaps I refused to acknowledge the signs. Only later did I realize that Mother and Father intended we escape. We did not escape.We were taken.June 14, 1941. I had changed into my nightgown and settled in at my desk to write my cousin Joana a letter. I opened a new ivory writing tablet and a case of pens and pencils, a gift from my aunt for my fifteenth birthday.The evening breeze floated through the open window over my desk, waltzing the curtain from side to side. I could smell the lily of the valley that Mother and I had planted two years ago. Dear Joana.It wasn’t a knocking. It was an urgent booming that made me jump in my chair. Fists pounded on our front door. No one stirred inside the house. I left my desk and peered out into the hallway. My mother stood flat against the wall facing our framed map of Lithuania, her eyes closed and her face pulled with an anxiety I had never seen. She was praying.“Mother,” said Jonas, only one of his eyes visible through the crack in his door, “are you going to open it? It sounds as if they might break it down.”Mother’s head turned to see both Jonas and me peering out of our rooms. She attempted a forced smile. “Yes, darling. I will open the door. I won’t let anyone break down our door.”The heels of her shoes echoed down the wooden floor of the hallway and her long, thin skirt swayed about her ankles. Mother was elegant and beautiful, stunning in fact, with an unusually wide smile that lit up everything around her. I was fortunate to have Mother’s honey-colored hair and her bright blue eyes. Jonas had her smile.Loud voices thundered from the foyer.“NKVD!” whispered Jonas, growing pale. “Tadas said they took his neighbors away in a truck. They’re arresting people.”“No. Not here,” I replied. The Soviet secret police had no business at our house. I walked down the hallway to listen and peeked around the corner. Jonas was right. Three NKVD officers had Mother encircled. They wore blue hats with a red border and a gold star above the brim. A tall officer had our passports in his hand.“We need more time. We’ll be ready in the morning,” Mother said.“Twenty minutes—or you won’t live to see morning,” said the officer.“Please, lower your voice. I have children,” whispered Mother.“Twenty minutes,” the officer barked. He threw his burning cigarette onto our clean living room floor and ground it into the wood with his boot.We were about to become cigarettes.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Between Shades of Gray:“A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”--The New York Times Book Review“Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.”--The Washington Post"Beautiful…a superb though grueling novel.”--The Wall Street Journal“An eye-opening reimagination of a very real tragedy written with grace and heart.”--Los Angeles Times“An engrossing and poignant story of the fortitude of the human spirit in a dark time in Lithuanian history.”--Associated Press “Brave Lina is a heroine young and old readers can believe in.”--Entertainment Weekly “Please read this small window into a tragedy.”--NPR“Beautifully written and researched, it captures the devastation of war while celebrating the will to survive.”--Family Circle * “A harrowing page-turner.”--Publishers Weekly, starred review* “A gripping story.”--School Library Journal, starred review* “Bitterly sad, fluidly written…Sepetys' flowing prose gently carries readers.”--Kirkus, starred review* "Beautifully written and deeply felt…an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”--Booklist, starred review“A haunting chronicle, demonstrating that even in the heart of darkness ‘love is the most powerful army.'”--The Horn Book Magazine“Stalin deported and murdered millions, but he could not destroy the seeds of memory, compassion, and art that they left behind. From those seeds, Ruta Septeys has crafted a brilliant story of love and survival that will keep their memory alive for generations to come.”--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls“In terrifying detail, Ruta Sepetys re-creates World War II coming of age all too timely today. Between Shades of Gray is a document long overdue.”--Richard Peck, Newbery Award–winning author of A Year Down Yonder“Between Shades of Gray is a story of astonishing force. I feel grateful for a writer like Ruta Sepetys who bravely tells the hard story of what happens to the innocent when world leaders and their minions choose hate and oppression. Beautiful and unforgettable.”--Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Newbery Honor–winning author of Hitler Youth “Sepetys has penned a harrowing and heartbreaking novel. Beautifully written and important.”--Harlan Coben, international bestselling author of Shelter — Ruta Sepetys