"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is the best YA book I've read in long time. I am completely entranced by both the writing and the story. This novel was inspired by the author's own family history. It is evident that she did extensive research on a historical event barely mentioned in US history books. Told by 15-year-old Lina, it is a gruesome tale of the deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia.
In 1941, during WWII and Joseph Stalin's reign, Soviet officers arrest a gifted artist, 15-year-old Lina and her family. While her father faces the death camp, Lina, her mother and younger brother...are deported to a Siberian work camp. Lina and her fellow prisoners must endure many difficulties -- the harsh climate, unsanitary conditions, disease and hunger. At great risk, Lina documents her experiences through her meticulous drawings... Through flashbacks of Lina's former, happy life in Lithuania, readers gain an understanding of the political events. "Sepety's flowing prose gently carries readers through the crushing tragedy of this tale that needs telling" (KIRK).
Sepetys believes that one-third of all citizens of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) were deported from their homeland and forced into work camps in Siberia for decades. These camps which were just as bad as Nazi concentration camps.  Apparently the Russian government still denies that they did this. For more info visit Ruta Sepetys webpage here.

Between Shades of Gray is a riveting story, told with so much heart and compassion, that I was sad when I turned the final page.  I wanted more!

*First line:
They took me in my nightgown.
The opening line refers to the night when the NKVD (KGB) came to arrest Lina and her family.

*From page 56:
I woke with a start next to Jonas and Andrius. The door to our [box]car had been closed and locked. People began to panic. The engines let out a hiss of steam. 'Please don't move unless you absolutely have to,' ordered Miss Grybas... 'Miss Book Lady? Will you tell us a story?' asked the girl with the dolly.
So begins the nightmare train ride to Siberia.


  1. Wow, this sounds like an awesome story. The opener really grabbed me, while p. 56 suggested how the characters are coping.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. I have heard so many good things about this book. I hope you are enjoying it. Happy reading!

  3. Sounds like a powerful book.

    Here are my Friday memes: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/07/friday-memes_08.html

  4. I also loved this one and hope that a lot of my students will read it in the upcoming year!

  5. I too have heard so many things about this book lately. Makes me really want to read it.

  6. Wonderful 56! Full of life!
    Thanks for participating!

  7. This takes me back to Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Remember that one? I found it so powerful when I was a kid.

  8. I got into quite a discussion with an assistant in the bookstore yesterday about why so many adults read YA fiction! She told me they were great for summer so I may have to have a summer of YA books! This certainly sounds like one I'd like to read though - and what an opening line!!


  9. I've seen so many great reactions to this book. It sounds heartbreaking, but everyone seems quite affected by it.

    Thanks for participating in Book Beginnings!

  10. Hi Anne,

    One can only imagine the horrors endured by men, women and children, of all creeds and colours, during the many terrible periods in our recent history.

    Reading this book, sounds as though it will be an utterly emotional experience, but perhaps one that all students should endure, so that they can understand the reasons why events such as this should never be allowed to happen again.

    The first line has to be one of the most descriptive and all-encompassing of this week's offerings.


  11. Sounds good, but heartbreaking.

  12. I absolutely believe her story, I may have to read this one. My mother is one of the survivors of Siberia.

  13. This book sounds like a very interesting read and the first line definitely has my attention.


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