Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Paperback | April 3, 2012

byRuta Sepetys

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"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

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Between Shades of Gray

Paperback | April 3, 2012
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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 ( 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

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Out Of The Easy
Out Of The Easy

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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

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