Monday, July 11, 2011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the jacket flap:
In 1941, Fifteen-Year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina's father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.

Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they 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, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

My response upon finishing this book? Wow. Ruta Sepetys beautifully captures a horrific, yet little know piece of history. This is a book that joins other powerful narratives such as Zusak's The Book Theif as must reads. The narrative flowed smoothly. She used flashback effectively to fill in blanks and to reveal the story line and the characters. I also enjoyed how some characters where introduced in great detail, while others who where with Lina the entire story as well as playing a vital role where known only as "the bald man", "the man who wound his watch", or "the grouchy woman". The story is not an easy story, but it is an important one.

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