Customer Reviews for

Between Shades of Gray

Average Rating 4.5
( 377 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(300)

4 Star

(52)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

41 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

Heartwrenching... beautiful... a story everyone will love

When I flipped over the last page of Between Shades of Gray, all I could say was "WOW".

Everything about Ruta Sepetys's YA debut was heartwrenching and, at the same time, beautiful. There were times when I would smile, but tears would threaten to spill at the sam...
When I flipped over the last page of Between Shades of Gray, all I could say was "WOW".

Everything about Ruta Sepetys's YA debut was heartwrenching and, at the same time, beautiful. There were times when I would smile, but tears would threaten to spill at the same moment.

Throughout the story, I kept thinking back to Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. But Between Shades of Gray stands out. The story of Anne Frank and all the hundreds of thousands of Jews prosecuted during the Nazi regime is well-known throughout history.
The people from the small countries of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and other countries suffered almost the same way. Sure, they weren't gassed and thrown in concentration camps for the whole world to know. But that's what made it so horrible. The whole world didn't know.

I don't usually re-read books, but so many things happened in Between Shades of Gray that I want to relive to remind myself that the cold winters we face in our warm houses are nothing, compared to what Lina and her people faced. To remind myself that when there isn't enough salt in my lunch, I shouldn't complain.

I recommend Between Shades of Gray to anyone who has read Anne Frank's diary and felt something for her. And if you haven't read her diary, you should still pick this book up.

The efforts Ruta Sepetys put in for researching and compiling such a powerful historical fiction debut have not gone in vain. Pick up a copy of Between Shades of Gray when it debuts in March and relive the events of Stalin's Reign of Terror through a whole new perspective - the eyes of fifteen year old Lina Vilkas.

To me, the cover suggests the heart-wrenching sorrow to follow. It's beautiful, sad, and suggests hope at the same time!

posted by IceyBooks on February 7, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

The story and the characters are brimming with a potential that, in a lot of ways, was not fully realized.

On June 14, 1941 Lina Viklas is taken by the Soviet secret police. Along with her mother and her younger brother, Jonas, Lina is forced to leave her home in the middle of the night to board a train to be deported from Lithuania with thousands like her.

As they are ta...
On June 14, 1941 Lina Viklas is taken by the Soviet secret police. Along with her mother and her younger brother, Jonas, Lina is forced to leave her home in the middle of the night to board a train to be deported from Lithuania with thousands like her.

As they are taken farther and farther from Lithuania, all hope seems lost. Lina's father has been separated from the family to be sent to a prison camp. Lina's dreams of one day attending art school or falling in love are dashed. With nothing but the clothes on their back and a few precious possessions, how can they survive? Will help ever come?

Refusing to lose her sense of self along with everything else, Lina clings to what she does have: her memories and her art. While dreaming of her past, Lina uses her talents to document the atrocities she and the other deportees are forced to endure. Lina may be far from everything she once knew, but she will survive. Any other options are too horrible in Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

Between Shades of Gray is Sepetys' first novel. It was also a finalist in the 2011 Cybils for Young Adult Fiction which is how I came to read it. Since its publication Between Shades of Gray has garnered a fair amount of accolades and even critical acclaim in the form of a finalist spot for the 2012 William C. Morris YA Debut Award.

Sepetys, herself a daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, brings light to one of history's darker (not to mention lesser known) moments when the nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia disappeared from maps in 1941 as thousands were deported and sent to labor camps and prisons. These countries did not reappear until 1990.

Because of its content and its deft negotiation of this bleak subject matter, there is no doubt that Between Shades of Gray is an important, valuable book. It will undoubtedly be added to many history class curiculums and will raise awareness about Stalin's cleansing of the Baltic region.

Unfortunately, being an important book does not make Between Shades of Gray a book without its flaws.

Both the story and its narrator, Lina, are difficult to connect with. The story has a linear narrative of Lina's journey with the other deportees interspersed with flashbacks and memories of Lina's old life in Lithuania. While the memories illustrate all that Lina has lost, they also appear abruptly and at little to the plot's forward momentum. The ending is similarly abrupt not only having a a fifty-four year gap between the last chapter and the epilogue but also a gaping hole in terms of what happened to many of the characters.

Although Lina becomes a strong character as the story progresses, she spends much of the novel as a petulant girl who enjoys rash behavior and jumping to conclusions with little to no evidence to support any of her seemingly random assumptions.

So much emphasis is placed on Lina's art but the book as a whole provides very little payoff in that department. Granted, Between Shades of Gray isn't that type of book but I can't help but wish that readers had been able to see Lina's actual drawings after hearing so much about them.* If any book could have benefited from illustrations to add another dimension to the story, it's this one.**

Between Shades of Gray is already a beloved book for a lot of readers. It will likely reach many more. The story and the characters are brimming with a potential that, in a lot of ways, was not fully realized.

posted by MissPrint on February 28, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 9 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted July 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ughhh

    I made the mistake again of listening to other peoples reviews and buying books. Even though mostly everyone lovesss this book I didn't share the feeling. There was no romance in it and for us hopeless romantics that is a must! there one some parts that i wish werent there that made me cringe reading. I admit it was a well written sob story but it still wasnt what I thought when i first saw the back cover.

    4 out of 52 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Please help!!!!!!

    My name is Annabelle and I was just wondering whether or not I should get this book. I have heard good and bad sides of this book, so I really don't know what to do. Please respond. Again, my name is Annabelle so just put that on your next comment. Thanks!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    SOB, SOB, SOB :(

    I will NEVER read this book again. Too sad and too many deaths. In my opinion the NKVD were idiots especially Ivanov and Komorov. And I think the author could have written the last part of the book without killing off the main character's mother. I mean seriously, I can name over about 20 books and movies where the mother died. Even a couple songs. EXAMPLES: beauty and the beast: Belle's mother, the little mermaid: Ariel's mom, blown away by: Carrie Underwood, the christmas shoes: the little boy's mom, Aladdin: Jasmine's mom, about 7 dear america books, elle enchanted: Ella's mom, teen beach movie: the main girl's mom, and Nancy Drew's mom died.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Hi

    Hiiiiiiiiii

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Bad sample

    Got to the copy right page and stopped. Didnt buy the book

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    This book was a waste of money. It is poorly written. A bad f

    This book was a waste of money. It is poorly written. A bad fiction of a horrible event in history.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

    HORRIBLE

    If you don't like history...... BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1