Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys


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“‘Want to know a big secret?’ She asked.

‘What’s that?’

She leaned over and whispered in my ear. ‘Mama says the NKVD are going to hell.’ She leaned back. ‘But you can’t tell anyone. It’s a secret, okay? You see, Liale, my dolly, she’s up in heaven. She talks to me. She tells me things. So that’s a secret, but Liale said I could tell you.’”

Lina Arvydas was a normal fifteen year old Lithuanian teenager. She had a father, a mother, and a younger brother. Everything was normal for her until Soviet Soldiers barged their way into the Arvydas’s home. The three are separated from their dad and are forced on a train car as prisoners. Surrounded by other people in the same situation as them, they travel in the train car to go to a work camp where they are forced to dig up beets.

I can’t express my deep love for this book. In most cases, I tend to not reach for Historical Fiction when choosing a book to read. This book has completely changed my mind about that.  The deportation of the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) is a forgotten part of WW2. I’ve never heard of this part of history in all my years of schooling. She says in the authors note that many of the experiences described in the novel are based on stories from survivors and her family’s personal stories which is both beautiful and horrifying. Many of the events that happen in the novel left my mouth hanging open (literally). 

The characters were absolutely brilliant; they were very dynamic and complex. Ruta Sepetys has such a beautiful writing style, and it really added to the story. The events that occur in the story are so difficult to read about, but they are so important in history. If you don’t normally like Historical Fiction, please don’t think that you won’t like this.

I highly recommend this to anyone, especially history nerds. I’m meeting Ruta next month and I can’t wait. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I rated this book a 5/5 stars on the Goodreads scale.

Have any of you read Between Shades of Gray? What did you think of it? Let me know down in the comments. Thanks for reading! See you in my next post.




6 thoughts on “Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  1. Great review! I’ve been hearing a ton about Salt to the Sea recently because that just came out, but it’s been making me interested in this one as well. I’ll have to check it out soon. It’s so exciting that you get to meet her! Hope you have fun!


  2. I’ve actually never heard of this book but I have heard of the author! It sounds really interesting and on a topic I actually don’t know anything about. I think I’ll read Salt to the Sea first since I’ve been hearing people tell me to read that one! So glad her other book is a hit too; great review (:

    Liked by 1 person

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