May 09, 2013

Review: Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

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.

A Long Story Short:

Between Shades of Grey is a Historical Fiction novel you wouldn't want to miss. It's a unique story with lovable characters that will tear your heart to shreds with everything they think, say and do.

3/3 Smarties


I know, I know. Don't even say it. Like so often these days, everyone loved this book and I was convinced I wouldn't. It's the story of my life. I go on reading all those books that are okay, but not mind blowing and then I make myself reading a novel everyone loved but that I know I won't and then I'm like...BOOM! This is it.
And yes, Between Shades of Grey was just it. It was an amazing story about a topic I did not know anything about. 
I actually am a huge fan of Historical Fiction. Especially WWII, though, is a topic we - of course - talk a lot about in school which resulted in two things
1) I got kind of tired reading stories about it, because I've read so many already
2) I missed everything that didn't have to do with Germany

I had no idea about what Stalin did to the eastern European countries and their people, I had no idea there were stories about that and - I had no idea a debut author could write as beautifully as Sepetys does. 
The plot pretty much consisted of the journey that the main character Lina and her family made throughout the years - which had me suspicious at the beginning. I'm not the type of reader enjoying a story about journeys, actually.
Chapter length, in my opinion, is such a simple way to make a story addicting. I don't think there were chapters in this book longer than four pages. The result? Scenes that were to the point, without unnecessary details. Also, the author had me craving for more about Lina and her story whenever I finished a chapter.
It seemed like everything Sepetys did in this novel came with ease, the chapters and their detailing as well as the characters and the plot.
The characters seemed to introduce themselves just by being there. I don't remember there being any extra explanations or the people actually talking about themselves. As a reader, you get just thrown into the story and after about twenty pages you feel like you are with all those people on their journey, knowing them as well as Lina does.
The plot, as I said, went along like that. I mean, I don't know how true this story was, as it was a mix of different people's stories (Sepetys mentions it in her acknowledgements), but the plot itself just felt like something that really happened.
Also, the story got a lot more emotional as it went on. It the beginning, it was just interesting and kind of exciting and then it switched to sad. Then to sad-sad. And then it just made me cry. 
As good as the whole book was, though, the last two or three pages really disappointed me. The ending, in my opinion, was just way too rushed. I was so in the middle of everything when suddenly, the book just "stopped" and I felt like I was literally left with nothing.
All in all, though, Between Shades of Grey was just an amazing novel,  a way more than amazing debut and a story you wouldn't want to miss!

1 comment:

  1. SO glad you loved the book :D A blogging bud of mine just told me last week to read this! lol I have a copy that's been sitting on my shelf for almost a year! Lovely review :) It makes me want to read my copy!

    Janina @ Synchonized Reading


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