Monday, August 8, 2011

between shades of gray

between shades of gray
by Ruta Sepetys
New York : Philomel Books, 2011
young adult historical fiction
344 pages

From amazon.com, product 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.

I had to borrow the description from amazon as I couldn't say it better myself. Lina is an amazing character complete with flaws and some attitude. So many of the side characters prove to have layers as well that it is an amazing group of people to hope with, love with, suffer with, mourn with and rejoice with throughout the novel. A must-read novel that covers a time and place in world history that is generally overshadowed by Hitler's craziness. A beautiful and impressive first novel for the author.

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