Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

Ruta Sepetys‘ first novel is a triumph in humanity. Between Shades of Gray is a must read for everyone.

In every age, there are books that challenge your world. Or at least, the world you believe exists. That force you to see the wrongs that were done and could be done again.

This book does that. And so much more.

This is a book where “one girl breaks the silence of history.”

The most horrible reality is forced upon Lina, a 15-year-old girl deported fromย  Lithuania to Siberia. She endures unspeakable brutalities.

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.

The book sheds light on an era in history that is not well known. What Stalin did to to Eastern European nations after he invaded. His systematic deportation and mass genocide. The cruelties that the survivors dared not speak of for fear of being sent back to Siberia.

This is their book. And Ms. Sepetys awakens everyone to the horrors that tested their humanity.

One of the most beautiful and important books I will read in my life–that is how I would categorize Between Shares of Gray.

I hope to one day write a book of such value.

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24 Responses to Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

  1. Wow! Just that one quote from the book is so incredibly sad and powerful!

  2. Sounds like an important book – thanks, put it on the library list (and if they don’t have it they should get it)

  3. EllaDee says:

    Thank you for the review. I like these powerful books that are real, and offer an emotional read, but the gift of at least survival (for some) often a triumph itself in the end. I will add to my Goodreads list. (When I saw the post title, I was worried you’d reviewed another of those other ‘gray’ books… so also am quite relieved in that regard ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    • Glad to talk about the books I love. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was an emotionally enriching experience. Hard at times but far easier than having to endure what these people suffered through. (LOL. I never read any of those gray books. I’ve read some terrific classic erotica but the gray books didn’t appeal to me.)

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’ve heard such good things about this book. Too bad its title is so close to that other 50 Shades series.

    • OMG. It’s really beautiful and poignant and soul breaking. I know. But the title is really fitting for this book because her characters are all between shades of gray. No one is pure evil no one is all good. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        “her characters are all between shades of gray. No one is pure evil no one is all good.”—And that’s a skill that’s harder to achieve than one would think. As a writer, it’s much easier to write about good guys and bad guys.

        • I read that she wanted to show that one act of kindness by a soldier could save a prisoner’s life. And it did. She interviewed many people to weave a tapestry of their life events into her work of fictional characters. It takes so much more effort to breathe life into characters and make them gray. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Janet says:

    I was going to say the same thing as Carrie above. However, with such a similar title, who knows. People may pick it up expecting one thing but be totally blown away with what they got instead.

  6. This sounds like a must-read, Kourtney! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I hadn’t even heard of it. I just love your reviews. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It’s weird how many great books we don’t hear about. I’m just glad I happened to be at the conference where this author spoke. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Aw thanks so much! I try to make them interesting!

  7. jmmcdowell says:

    I think the “shade of gray” apply much more to a book like this than a piece of fan fiction. As you say, most of us fall somewhere in this spectrum and at best can strive for closer to good than evil. But it’s easier to be “good” when we’re not confronted with horrific situations.

    • I agree. I am on the fence about fan fiction. I think it’s cool for working on your writing. But if you didn’t create the characters, to me you didn’t craft a book. You told a story with borrowed characters and leveraged off someone else’s world building. It reminds me of sampling in music. It’s not an original artistic endeavor.

      There are moments when the best person makes a bad decision or a selfish call and moments where the seemingly bad guy shows kindness. It was a very moving book. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. zelmare says:

    It sounds like a worthwhile read. Will look out for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. berry says:

    Riveting. I couldnt put it down. Horrific. But human spirit is amazing.

  10. Gwen says:

    I purchased this book at the grocery store a while ago. It’s on the ever-growing “to read” list.

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