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Most Helpful Favorable Review
41 out of 42 people found this review helpful.
Heartwrenching... beautiful... a story everyone will love
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...
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, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
As they are ta...
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, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 22, 2011
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 25, 2013
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2013
Posted January 20, 2013
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2011
Posted March 1, 2012
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Posted July 5, 2011
No text was provided for this review.