Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

byRuta Sepetys

Kobo ebook | March 22, 2011

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$11.99

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“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

Title:Between Shades of GrayFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 22, 2011Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:110147615X

ISBN - 13:9781101476154

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking This story was simply heart-wrenching yet beautiful. Could not put it down.
Date published: 2017-11-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from no It's not especially well-written and basically serves as millennial bait.
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An inspiring and informative novel. I am looking forward to teaching this to my middle school students
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful! This book is wonderfully written and insightful. I could not put it down
Date published: 2017-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart-wrenching and emotional story A beautiful story about the journey of a young girl and her family, and how they endure the horrors of WWII. She finds solace in her drawings, and captures an emotional tale that forces the reader to contemplate the complexity of human nature as well as the courage it takes to maintain hope in the face of fear. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful and haunting. A beautifully written novel that is a must read for any one interested in World War II era history.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing beautiful book, a truly remarkable story. i was hooked from the beginning, and i loved the author's writing in such a lyrical pattern. it is so haunting, yet an intriguing read. i definitely recommend this book!!
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Story Worth Reading This was a wonderful book, I read it a few years ago but I would still recommend it! The story is really beautiful and was well written. The author was able to capture such a terrible time in history and cover such sensitive topics all while creating a beautiful story with captivating characters.
Date published: 2017-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story Characters: really great /Relationships: beautiful /Feels: lots! /Relatable: not really /Pace: good /Boring parts: not really /Worth the Read: yes such a good story! really made me think which is always a good thing when you read
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED IT!!! Characters: great Relationships: amazing! Feels: YES YES YES Relatable: not really Pace: great Boring parts: not really Worth the Read: YES PLEASE!
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written! I have so much love for this novel. It is inspiring and beautifully written.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hauntingly beautiful This is the type of story that tugs at your heartstrings and affects you deep within your soul. It was an emotional journey through a part of history that isn't very well known but should be.
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New favourite My new favourite book - really interesting to read about a piece of history that I had no idea existed.
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful, Powerful, Stunning This is a very powerful novel and I am really glad that I came upon it. Before reading this, I had not known of Lithuania's suffering in the war in great detail. This is a book I learned a lot from. I was thoroughly inspired, grieved and given hope through this novel. Read it. Retain it. I definitely recommend it.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring This book was shed some light on a truly tragic and under appreciated event in the history of World War II. It was beautifully written and incredibly moving.
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and Beautiful A beautifully unique history novel I could not put down while reading.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from deep this is such a well-written historical fiction. highly recommend for if you like this genre.
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Good! It's really deep and really tragic. I'm glad that it shed light on an event that no one knows about but have also happened.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So Good This book was both incredibly sad and incredibly inspiring. I am currently crying at work. Such a gripping and moving stor
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful read Fascinating story of events that are so little known. World War 2 has been written about in such detail, but Ruta Sepetys finds a whole new angle. Rich, descriptive writing and a great story.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Not only did I learn a very important slice of history from this book, but I also got a well-written story that sent chills down my spine, made me cry and made me wonder about life. Between shades of gray is a MUST! I highly recommend it to everybody. It ended wonderfully, not in the "they lived happily ever after" way, but I was glad that there are people who lived and were able to transmit this story of suffering so the world could know about it
Date published: 2017-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Riveting and eye-opening This was quite a riveting, eye-opening (but not enjoyable) book to read. I've had this book on my Holocaust bookshelf for years and now that I've read it, I'm sorry that I didn't read it sooner. I'm going to have to re-shelve it because it's really not about the Holocaust at all. I have never really read much to do with Russia and Stalin and the evil that was done by him during the time of WWII. It makes it that much more horrifying when you read the author's notes and realize that her novel is based on many survivors' true life accounts. Ruta Sepetys is a compelling author and I look forward to reading her other books, which I already own.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic and moving This was an amazing novel that touched upon something most people do not know a lot about: the Lithuanian genocide. I loved everything about this novel and I would want another just like this (aside from Salt to the Sea). The only con was that this was at times a bit juvenile, which I understand since it is YA. I cannot wait for the movie!!
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story! I have to say, this book shed a brand new light on World War II for me. I obviously knew about the genocide towards the Jews (I still have some cultural knowledge), but I had no idea about what the other countries in the middle of this war went through. I can’t possibly say I related to the main character Lina, because I have never had to go through anything a little similar to what she and her family went through, but in the span of only a few pages, I felt like I had known her forever. We both have similar personalities, her with her passion for drawing, me for reading. It made this story even more difficult to read emotionally. The only thing that slightly disappointed me, is that I wish the story finished less abruptly, but it is still a five stars books anyway. The book’s small chapters make it easy to read for any type of readers. I read it in only two sittings. For this reason, I recommend this book to everyone to read. Also because this a less known aspect of History and I think we should raise more awareness about it by doing so. This is, in fact, one of the reasons Ruta Sepetys wrote this story in the first place.
Date published: 2016-12-04
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