Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
I’m trying to remember how I heard about this book but I think I might have found it on some NYT bestseller list. This is a YA novel about Lina and her family in Lithuania during WW2.
This book starts in 1941 with 15 yr old Lina along with her mother and brother being taken from their home in Lithuania. Eventually they travel from Latvia to Siberia and ultimately all the way to an island on the north pole.Scattered throughout the book are short excerpts from Lina’s life before they were taken away. Also she draws and falls in love and almost dies a few times. I appreciated that this was a story that I hadn’t heard before concerning WW2. I liked that it was young adult and I wasn’t exposed to lots of graphic terrible stuff but it also didn’t feel quite as real. Also the ending was frustrating, it seemed like the author didn’t know how to end it so the character just believes things will be fine and then we skip forwards in time and everything is fine. Also throughout the book Lina draws in the hopes of helping her father find them which i thought was going to be an important part of the plot but ultimately it was super trivial. There really wasn’t that much of a plot except them just trying to stay alive. I appreciated a few of the characters and how complex they were but ultimately most of the characters weren’t super fleshed out. Also the romance, although interesting, seemed kind of really out of place. This was a very fast read (finished in two days) and left me feeling not depressed which was nice although I can’t say that it was a happy book.
Mostly I appreciated how this was a part of the war that I had never heard about and it was eye opening to me. Apparently a lot happened in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that I never knew about. Torn between the Soviet Union and the Nazis they were torn apart and even if people were allowed to go home they were treated as criminals and not allowed to talk about what happened to them.
All in all, an easy read that I would recommend because it tells a story I think most people have never heard but maybe just go research the time period instead.
Also pardon the choppiness of this post, I’ve been a bit busy at the moment and this was the best I could do.
#8 of 2017