Home » Book Reviews » Between Shades of Gray Book Review

Between Shades of Gray Book Review

NOT to be confused with another book! πŸ™‚

Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruth Sepetys

Goodreads Summary:

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 GrayΒ is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

My Thoughts:

First I fell in love with Lina’s character, then her brother, then her mother…. What a courageous family even AFTER being deported to Siberia and treated like animals. I seriously don’t know what my actions would have been had I lived during a time like this.

And you know what? This just shows my ignorance-I didn’t even realize that the Soviet Union did things like this back then. Of course, I don’t remember learning about the Holocaust AT ALL in high school. In fact nothing in history class stuck in my brain. Sad. I’m definitely making up for lost time now.

Back to the book-you have GOT to read this. Yes, it was another one that had me engrossed the entire time. But I was so strong while reading about the horrors-I didn’t cry. Until one part. And then I couldn’t stop crying.

Put this on your TBR list NOW. Even if historical fiction is not your thing.

Then come back to me and let me know what you thought.



16 thoughts on “Between Shades of Gray Book Review

  1. And I thought it was the other books and was hoping to see what you thought. However this really sounds like a good book to check out. I like a bit (or lots of) history in a story. Learning and loving at the same time.
    Thanks for a great review. I do read your review though think this is the first time I’ve said something. My bad!
    Take care Shannon and have a blessed evening.

    • Haven’t read that one you thought it was yet. But going to. πŸ™‚ However, the review might be short or I might not even write one on my blog. πŸ™‚

  2. I absolutely loved this book. I have shared it with many of my students just this year. I teach a unit on the Holocaust every year and this is another book I have added to my repetoire.

    • Kathy-

      What grade do you teach because I just let one of my 6th grade girls read it today, and her mom has already emailed me about whether or not it would be too mature and depressing? I don’t know where to draw the line on books-I always seem to have someone questioning my books. What to do?

  3. Thank you for your review. I will read it! You may have reviewed this before, but have you read Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli? I just finished it, and LOVED it. Another Halocaust book, and it was sosososososo good. πŸ™‚ Cindy

      • Cindy-

        Ha! I knew what you meant to put. πŸ™‚ I actually have the book Milkweed, but have not read it yet. I need to dig it out of my classroom closet and read it. I think I’m becoming addicted to reading about this time period. (Even though I NEVER remember learning about it in high school or college!)

    • Sheila,

      A parent of one of my students actually thought that was the book that I had given her 6th grade daughter to read. For real?? πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys « Pleasure of Reading

  5. I really need advise about reading this book aloud to my students. I teach 5th grade small group intervention class. they are mature (no silliness in this group), and today I read an excerpt from Between Shades of Gray, just to demonstrate a “flashback”, THEY LOVED IT and asked me to read aloud the whole book, but I dont know if its too early for them. 😐

    • Arlene,

      There were a couple of words that you can omit, and also a part referencing what the young man’s mom was doing for them to survive in the labor camp that can be easily omitted. I would say go for it. I have 2 thoughts about books of this nature being in 5/6 grade. 1. They usually see much worse on TV or even just at home. 2. I don’t think they get affected by the horrors of that time period like adults do because they can’t truly connect like we can with what actually happened. It is still somewhat removed from their own life. Does that make sense?? πŸ™‚ Let me know how it goes if you decide to read it to them completely!

  6. I am 11.I know you dont have any idea of who i am.I have just read the book, and was searching up things like, the Cold War, Joseph Stalin and this book. I don’t really have any words. This is amazing, and truly makes you think about these things. I am trying to spread the word around. Search it up. Please try and make people notice this.
    Thank you.
    Amy (grade six)

    • Amy,

      I’m glad the book AND the history of what has happened and continues to happen to people touched your heart. We should always remember so that we never forget!

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