Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys | A Review

Published: March 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction

Ratings: ★★★★★


The book highlights a story of a fifteen-year-old girl named Lina and the abominations she and her family faced during the World War II in Lithuania, where they were taken by force to a concealed labor camp in Siberia. The story was told in of course, Lina’s perspective the whole entire time and has shared such a generous amount of realistic thoughts, feels, and tragedies throughout the way. 


A. Writing

There’s a lot to say when it comes to the writings of this book, it has this simplicity component to it at times that turns the reading experience of this story so likely to understand in a wide array of audience in general who whether or not enjoys reading rock-solid books such as this one, but it is not too simple in a way that it was still style-wise beautiful and enjoyable at the same time. The words weren’t that hard to consume for a historical fiction themed book, I myself happen to think that it was such a quick and easy read to get myself pumped into, which did eventually make the difference when comparing it to other books that are literally thick and slow at first to begin with.

Sepetys had a way of reeling people in to her story and sending the message across the people who come around to reading her book. There was just a right amount of descriptive content that is enough for the readers to simply understand what was going on during that period of time, especially remembering the fact that this story is the one that you don’t get to hear that often, or in other words, concealed to the point where it was almost forgotten.

B. Plot

So regarding the plot of this book, it was surprisingly fast paced that with each turn of a page, you get to see a lot of things unfolded at rapid speed, and like I said before about it being a total quick and super easy read, the story adjusted itself so well through the course of each timeline during the events that occurred back then, and the fact that it was not at all sugarcoated and brutally honest had managed to color the story to the point where it really pulled you right in, you know? Like somehow, you were Lina, and you were there witnessing this tragic, horrifying genocide, figuring out on what to do next in order to keep yourself alive and justified by the means of meeting your long lost separated father.

I adored that Lina was a passionate artist in this story. Driven by the emotions that dragged her upon the terrible events that stroke her and her family, she was still able to use her talent and put it to good use with the supposedly limited materials available to arrange a drawing being sent to her father to let him know that even with the lack of wellness she was currently facing, she was still alive in hope for another encounter with him very soon, and I think the story would be very much monotonous without the unique and intriguing elements of her outstanding skills that strode along throughout the course of it happening.

C. Characters

The characters of this well-researched story were indeed crafted so genuinely that despite them being fictional, a lot of the crazy, inhuman things that happened to them suited quite well with the personal traits that came along with it. Also, the progress of each character, especially Lina’s little brother, Jonas, who was a a 10-year-old child who acted commonly childish for his age, suddenly grew to an 11-year-old who wants nothing but to keep his family alive and doing the best he can to survive the irrational event that stroke them that time.

I was heartbrokenly warmed by Lina’s mother, Elena, and her acts of kindness and bravery she showed with fully good meaning in which vibed successfully throughout this entire book. She is the definition of a kind-hearted, loving mother and person who placed the wellbeing of others before herself, that developed evenly within one chapter after the next. She is by far one of the most extraordinary and heroic characters I have ever came around to reading about in books, and a rolemodel for the person we all should generally become, having a mind of gratefulness in a midst of life and its energy sucking tribulations.

So overall, I think you guys should give this book a go if you happen to be a huge fan of historical fiction, especially one that revolves around the backdrop setting of WW II. Thus, I viewed this story as one to be shared and heard by everyone and that it reluctantly deserves such a raise in awareness of what really happened back then inside of this small, yet powerful nation who yearns for nothing but freedom and justice they have not yet received back then.

In which, this review is over and that of course, I would love to hear more of your thoughts regarding this book if you happen to finish reading it through your comments down below, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend for you to pick this one right up because I can assure you that it’s really something worthwhile to devour upon.

I’ll be back before you know it,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s