Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys

Penguin Young Readers Group | March 22, 2011 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Between Shades of Gray is rated 4.75 out of 5 by 16.
“Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.” --The Washington Post

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.

Praise for BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY:

“A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”--The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant story of love and survival.”--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls 

* “Beautifully written and deeply felt…an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”--Booklist, Starred Review

A New York Times Bestseller
An International Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2011
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011
The iTunes 2011 Rewind Best Teen Novel
The #1 Book on the Spring 2011 IndieNext List
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2011
A Booklist Best Book of 2011
A Kirkus Best Book of 2011
2012 IRA Children’s and Young Adults Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
2012 Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
A Carnegie Medal Finalist
A William C. Morris Finalist

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: March 22, 2011

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 110147615X

ISBN - 13: 9781101476154

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Reviews

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 Absolutely Riveting I could not put this book down and to this day it is my favourite book. Yes, it is written for teenagers, but I really believe that anyone could read this book and be just as engulfed as I was. This story shows the connections and devotion between family members, moral values, and love. Being told from the perspective of a younger teen, it makes it that much more heartbreaking. It's a great book if you knew about Stalin's actions, haven't, or want to. I found it absolutely amazing and it left a great impact on me. I recommend ANYONE to read this.
Date published: 2012-07-16
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 Loved it My daughter read this book when it first came out and suggested I read it too. I did and loved it. Written for teens, I'm sure all adults will enjoy it as well. The book uses the fictional Vilkas family of Lithuania to tell the story of Stalin's deportation of millions in the Baltic states to Siberia in the early 1940's. Although a work of fiction, many of the events and experiences in the story are real and actually happened to deportees. Many died in Siberia or in transit. Some were eventually able to return to their homelands in the 1950's to find homes, possessions and businesses confiscated and being used by others. Forbidden to speak of their experiences and constantly watched by the secret police, they endured and relived their time in Siberia in silence. This is their story, it must never be forgotten.
Date published: 2012-05-28
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
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hauntingly Beautiful...High Recommend!! Story Description: 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 REVIEW: The Soviet Union occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, known as the Baltic states, in 1939. The Kremlin drafted hundreds of people and deemed them anti-Soviet. They eventually would end up either murdered, sent to prison, or sent to labour camps being forced to dig for beets and potatoes under Josef Stalin’s orders. The first deportation happened on June 14, 1941 when 15-year-old Lina and her family were taken. She and her family were not as lucky to escape Lithuania like her cousin, Joana and her family. They had escaped through Germany to refugee camps. Those who survived spent 10 to 15 years in Siberia under below zero temperatures in nothing but poorly constructed jurtas. There was really no heat and after working long days, each person was only given 300 grams of bread rations per day. Hardly a sustaining meal for people doing hard labour in severe conditions. Although this book is fiction, it was based on “true” events that were well researched through documentation that was found buried in the ground by people who were there, and from people brave enough to speak out. The book is written like a memoir. In Lithuania on June 14, 1941, Lina Vilkas put on her nightgown and sat at her desk to pen a letter to her cousin, Joana. Suddenly there was such a loud banging on the front door that Lina jumped out of her chair. When her mother opened the door it was the NKVD, otherwise known as the Soviet Secret Police. Three of them came in holding the passports of their mother, Elena; their father, Kostas; her 11-year-old brother, Jonas; and Lina’s. They were transported in a truck along with other people and deposited at a train station. It was complete and utter chaos as families were being separated. Children screamed and mothers pleaded for their offspring. Everyone was herded onto cattle cars - the stench of body odour was overpowering. There wasn’t any room to move and the NKVD kept piling more and more people onto each car. Lina counted 46 people in their car which she called the “prison box.” Eventually these poor people ended up in Siberia in the fight of their lives. The treatment was cruel and vicious! This beautifully written, sad story is a dark reminder from the past. The hard thing about reading the book beside the fact the story is based on truth is understanding that these horrible things did actually happen to these people. I thank those brave enough to bring stories like this into the open. As kind, compassionate, decent, and caring people, we must NEVER, EVER allow anything like this to happen again. You will not be able to put this book down. Although hard to read, believe me, you’ll be so absorbed that you’ll want to keep reading. Be sure to read the “Author’s Note” and the end of the book for important information. Be sure to have kleenex standing by for this book! Absolutely excellent.
Date published: 2012-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Between Shades of Gray I wasn't sure if I would like this book when I bought it. A friend recommended it to me and I'm so glad I decided to purchase it! This heartbreaking novel will leave you reading for hours on end with a few tears. It was very well written and always kept the readers wondering what was going to happen next. This was truly a great read.
Date published: 2011-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written, definitely recommend.. What I liked the most about this book is although it focuses on World War II, it’s from a different perspective than what most readers are used to when reading something from this particular era in history. I think that although learning and reading about the Holocaust is important, let’s not forget other tragic incidents that also happened during this time frame as those victims should not be forgotten as well. Personally, I have not found many fictional accounts concerning this time frame (and geared towards younger readers) and I am hoping Between Shades of Gray will be the one that will open the doors to a lot of readers on this particular subject. For one thing, it’s good to know and good to let others be aware of this moment in history. Also, it’s good because it sets the stage for other writers to write about this subject. This book has the most beautiful writing I have ever read so far. It’s beautiful, yet at the same time, it’s sad and the sense of loneliness, isolation, and helplessness is felt all throughout the book. It certainly does feel as if Lina and all the rest of the prisoners have indeed been forgotten by the world - considering they’re placed in a camp in literally what looks to be in the middle of nowhere. What’s ironic is they’re labeled as thieves and prostitutes, and some of the prisoners have actually become that way as a means of survival. Lina and her mother are major beacons of hope throughout the story and it’s through their unbelievable strength that they attempt to survive through this ordeal. What I also liked about the book is the several flashbacks Lina has, to contrast between how she lived before she gets taken and arrested. They almost seem trivial compared to what she goes through in the camp. When Lina finds love in the camp, it’s what propels her to survive through this moment in her life. I thought Lina’s relationship with Andrius was the main reason why she kept hanging on. Although she had plenty of courage to show, she needed something else to cling on so she won’t lose hope. It’s a bleak story, and gets worse later as the book progresses. The writing in this novel is excellent and makes the reader feel what Lina feels, the detail in the setting and atmosphere is well done and also adds to the feeling of the book. It’s not until literally, the last few pages of the book where Lina’s outcome is revealed, and leaves the reader with the feeling of hope, however with a melancholy feeling to it as well. One of the best books I’ve read so far this year, I greatly recommend reading this. The writing is beautiful, and the story although tragic, focuses on Lina’s strength to survive and shows how courageous and hopeful one can be while enduring awful horrible events such as the one Lina went through herself.It’s definitely not a subject for everyone to read, however it’s not one to forget either.
Date published: 2011-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable Hands down my favourite book. Absolutely amazing. Eloquently written from start to finish this book will haunt you for a long time. The characters are just as they should be. They tell a heartbreaking story of love and life during a time when the world was plagued with death. “Between Shades of Gray” had everything a good story should have. Love, hope, sorrow and heartache all based on truths pulled from our past. An absolute must read. This book won’t disappoint. Loved it.
Date published: 2011-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hauntingly Beautiful Between Shades of Gray is a heartbreaking, hauntingly beautiful story. Written like a memoir the book chronicles the Vilkas family who are removed from their home in Lithuania during Stalin's Reign and are eventually taken to a camp in Siberia. I have read quite a few books that surround the Holocaust but this is the first I have read that spoke of Stalin's reign. Like Lina, the author created a vivid picture, the pages come alive with the horror and the pain, but also with the hope and the love. Sepetys told the story like it really was, never sugarcoating a moment. The book is heart-wrenching, you almost have to resist peeling your eyes away from the pages because the horror described is difficult to read at times. The book may be based on fictional characters but the terror that is described in this book are real. People lived the same lives that Lina shared with us and endured. Ruta Sepetys created such a riveting and memorable cast of characters. Each tells their own story and you begin to care for and fall in love with all of them. This book is not just a book about the horror that occurred during Stalin and Hitlers time. It is about a mothers love, the distance she will go to protect her children. It is about a family's love and loyalty. Between Shades of Gray is a story about survival. Pain, heartache, hope and strength. If I had to sum this book up in one word I would say this book is...Krasivaya. *Orginally posted on my blog 'The Crazy Bookworm' www.crazy-bookworm.blogspot.com
Date published: 2011-03-03

– More About This Product –

Kobo eBookBetween Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: March 22, 2011

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 110147615X

ISBN - 13: 9781101476154

From the Publisher

“Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.” --The Washington Post

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.

Praise for BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY:

“A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”--The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant story of love and survival.”--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls 

* “Beautifully written and deeply felt…an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”--Booklist, Starred Review

A New York Times Bestseller
An International Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2011
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011
The iTunes 2011 Rewind Best Teen Novel
The #1 Book on the Spring 2011 IndieNext List
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2011
A Booklist Best Book of 2011
A Kirkus Best Book of 2011
2012 IRA Children’s and Young Adults Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
2012 Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
A Carnegie Medal Finalist
A William C. Morris Finalist