Author: Ruta Sepetys
My Rating: 9 out of 10
Summary (via Goodreads): 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.
My Thoughts: I am going to keep this brief because I don't think that I can do it justice, and I also read this in February, and it is now November. This book threw me through the ringer. It devastated me, it informed me and it made me question a whole lot of things on a whole bunch of topics that I admittingly know next to nothing about. This book was written beautifully, and once I started it I couldn't put it down. Don't let that fool you though, because it is still absolutely heartbreaking. The struggles that the main characters faced are unparalleled to anything I can think of, and I'm shocked I didn't know more about the events that happened. Even if you're not into historical fiction, I urge to give this one a chance anyway. It's made me want to get to know more about the events that took place. Lina was the perfect narrator for this story, because she had you hoping or despairing or crying or laughing right along with her. She offered an insight into the world that is hard to achieve, and I cannot recommend this book enough.
Final Thoughts: There's not much insight I can shed that hasn't already been spoken about in regards to this book, but I hope that I've somehow managed to convince to pick it up and give it a try. It taught me about a world I was completely oblivious to in an amazing way.