Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

between shades of gray cover

View from the window seat:
Through Lina’s narrative, the reader is taken on the heartbreaking journey of a family’s struggle to survive under the horror of Stalin’s regime. The book follows Lina and her family as they are torn from their home in Lithuania and forced on a brutal trip to Siberia. Their freedom lost and Lina’s father sent to a prison far away, this family is pushed to the brink of human capacity to survive. Between Shades of Gray is very much a journey book, focusing on the struggle of dealing with loss and unbearable cruelty. We know where the journey most likely ends; the beauty of this book is in how the characters face each new horror.

From headstrong Lina to her selfless mother Lena to the Soviet guard with a conscious, these characters grip you from the first page. My heart yearned for them to find peace.

Lina describes every setting, from the cramped, smelly train car to the icy north, with vivid imagery. This narrative strength is all Lina, the extremely talented artist who can perfectly capture people’s emotions with a few strokes of her pencil.

Overall impression:
A heartbreaking novel that makes it impossible not to love, hate, and/or empathize with every character.



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