Review Time! For those of you who don't know, Ruta Sepetys is my Debut of the Month for March so check out her posts to learn more about her and Between Shades of Grey! I'm also hosting an international giveaway ( HERE ) where you can win your very own Signed ARC along with some awesome swag :)
( Goodreads ) 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.
The Short Story ? - Deeply moving, a plot filled with compassion and a strong teen voice, this is one debut you don't want to miss. Between Shades of Grey is a novel about hardship, hope and the loss and sacrifices people made during the war. It's a novel that can change your perspective of the world around you.
The Long Story ? - The last time I willingly picked up a novel about World War II or any war the matter was never. I only read them for school, I actually quite enjoy all of them but it just never occurred to me to pick them up just for fun, so to put it quite simply I wasn't all that thrilled when an ARC arrived on my doorstep. In a way, it's also part of the reason I haven't read til now but mostly it's because I wanted to post it closer to the release date. Another reason I haven't read it til now is because I heard it was really sad and I don't really deal with sad things but I go with the mainstream so I had to pick it up at some point.
To my own surprise, I really enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down, I felt compelled to read on, page after page even though my initial thought was ' this is going to be boring, it's history, ugh'. I admit my history about wars is a little rusty but from what I can gather, the novel is set during World War II which is also when something happened in Russia, my guess is Communism and Cold War but I have a feeling I'm wrong? ( ahhh I'm so sorry, my history is crappy, believe or not I don't even know what the Russian communism is. ) Anyway, I think that most of us don't realise but it wasn't just the Jews who suffered during the war, although they suffered from genocide, there were also other political prisoners of war. Many people from small European countries were captured and used as free labour. Good people who only tried to help were captured and many of those people died.
Ruta Sepetys is a fantastic writer, very strong teen voice portrayed through her protagonist Lina. Although Between Shades of Grey is a work of fiction it contained a lot of elements of truth and Lina could have been any other teenagers who was held prisoner. Lina was just a name Ruta chose for her character but the character was real. Bottom line, the characterisation is wonderful, the characters were just so real. Even better, Ruta managed to add a little romance amongst the the chaos which for me was just the cherry on top!
The plot itself was a wonder. It was truly a touching story. I don't think we all realise how lucky we are to live a reasonably stable, peaceful world. How lucky we are to be able to eat everyday, have a bath everyday, have an eduction and live freely. The hardship and tough journey Lina and her family went through in this novel, changed my view of the world. Suddenly, I appreciate the food on the table, the shower I take everyday and even the mountain load of homework I get.
Overall, Between Shades of Grey is a touching novel that will make you want to cry your eyes out and sing in joy every time you get homework. It's a novel that can change your perspective of the world. It about hardship and loss and the hope that you must keep even when the world seems wrong. It's about wanting to live even when death surrounds you. Beautiful novel, fantastic writing and a story that will surely move your heart. Don't let history turn you off, because history is awesome! Rating 5/5
ps- I'm sick. I apologise for the wonky review, it doesn't really flow right but bottom line, fantastic plot, great characters and heart wrenching reality that will change you.
Badass Bookie xx