Monday 19 December 2011

Book Review- Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of GrayTitle: Between Shades of Gray
 Author: Ruta Sepetys
Series:  N/A
Published:  22 March 2011 by Philomel
Length: 344
Warnings: violence, war, 
Source: Library
Other info: Between Shades of Grey has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2012.
Summary :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.
Review: Lina is a Lithuanian girl living happily. And then Soviet guards force Lina and her family out, onto a cattle car, and north to a labour camp in Siberia. She’s separated from her father, and the only thing she can do to keep herself from going mad is to draw. Even though it carries a great risk, she draws, hoping her father can come, find her, and piece together a trail from recognising a scribble signature. Until then, all Lina has to do is stay alive.
I don’t normally read books like this. Depressing and true to life. But it’s on the Carnegie Longlist and my school librarian and her daughter loved it and so I thought I should read it too.
I’m really glad I did pick it up. From the first page I got right inside Lina’s head, feeling her pain, misery and joy at various parts in the novel.
The characters are all very well fleshed out, and we’re given backstory and context to all of them. We don’t learn their stories all in one block, but we learn little parts every so often at relevant parts of the story. Almost all of them are likeable, and we get a good sense of all of them, understanding their circumstances and the way they reacted to everything very well. Lina is  a strong, yet believably breakable, girl despite everything that is thrown at her, and it’s lovely seeing her develop in the face of everything that’s thrown at her.
I was shocked at the way they were treated, in the same way I’d be shocked if I read about this stuff in the news. I think it’s because this is dealing the side of World War II that we don’t normally hear about. Most books you pick up that  focus on WWII are on Hitler, and the Holocaust. This is the only one that I’ve noticed that deal with Stalin and the Baltic nations. You learn a lot reading this book.
I liked the little bit of romance woven into it. I don’t normally like falling  hardly in love with someone you’ve only known  for a little while, but I just felt so bad for Lina that it was the only thing that was going somewhat ok in her life.
Something’s always happening to Lina and her family. The story moves on fairly quickly, and I just kept turning the pages.
Overall:  strength 5 tea to a really powerful look at the side of World War Two that we don’t ever see

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...