Author: Ruta Sepetys

Thing to keep in mind: This book is in no way related to 50 shades of Grey (book review here), both are as different from each other as apples and shoes.

Between Shades of Gray

Book Blurb:

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.


I came to know of this book while watching Little Book Owl’s videos, you could check out her review of this book here. She makes some excellent videos and introduces some beautiful books!

This is another World War two story, but unlike many other stories, it is set in the Soviet. I have read many books that are set in Germany or are in someway related to all the happenings related to Hitler, so, this was a bit of fresh air.

While it was a great read, it was not as good as the book thief (book review here). As in I could empathize with the characters, I felt bad for them, but It was more like you come to know about someone and feel that fleeting set of emotions for them. It is definitely a worthy read, but if you have not read the book thief yet, I would suggest you read this book before the book thief, you would enjoy and appreciate it even more.

I liked how the past was mingled with the present, as it not only brought out the stark contrast between the life before the war and after the war, but the present was so sad, that the past made it a bit bearable. The happy memories made the story more bitter sweet.

It is interesting to see how each person reacts to the changes in their lives. The language is very simple, and the chapters are pretty short so it is a pretty fast read.