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.
Second of all:
Between Shades of Gray is hands down my favorite standalone book. I read it about two years ago when my brother lent it to me. Re-reading it was just so refreshing, I still felt so moved, and the tears were all there.
Now, not a lot of people like reading historical fiction, but I'm telling you this is worth the read. The story is set in 1941. It follows the Stalinist time period when families were being deported from countries such as Lithuania, Latvia, etc. The protagonist, Lina, and her family are deported out of Lithuania and put into camps where they were forced to work.
The characters quickly grow on you. They have good hearts and humor, but they can also be serious but they're definitely not whiny. You don't get bored of any characters, you laugh and cry with them, and I think that's great that Sepetys could do that.
Now, I'm not bashing on Bella, but Lina is no Bella. [Did I just.. never mind.] She has so much hope and it's so nice to see that even though she goes through so much, she can think of a future and not shut off. I picture her as an Alex Udinov from Nikita!
Despite the depressing storyline, there are always parts of the book that makes you wanna smile and cry tears of joy. 95% of the time, it's because of Andrius. He doesn't even have super powers or a godly parent, though I'd suspect Zeus or Athena, he's just wow. And he gives Lina a book for her birthday and helps her learn Russian which is so cute.
All in all, I'd give the book an A. It deserves it and I can't believe it doesn't have a bigger fanbase. If you haven't read it yet, take this as a sign and buy it!