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Friday, August 19

Book Talk | Between Shades Of Gray

Title: Between Shades Of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Page Count: 352
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.34
My Rating: 5
Book Cover Rating: 5/5
Would Recommend To: Every historical fiction lover, but I honestly think everybody should read this because it's a beautiful story.
Bad Book Review: People try to make the best out of a very shitty situation.
Review type: Spoiler Free
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What's It About?
In this book you follow a family from Lithuania during the Second World War, who, together with many others, are being transported to work camps in Siberia, Russia. During their transport, her father is not with them, because he is sent to a different camp. The family travels a very far distance and go from camp to camp. During this time, they desperately try to keep their family together while also helping the others around them and deal with horrible things such as hard labor, death, deceases and the worst circumstances imaginable.

The Writing Style
This book is so fast paced, but despite that, still written in a beautiful way. Ruta Sepetys has an incredible way of explaining situations and managed to paint a perfect picture for me every time. I also liked that she doesn't romanticize the whole story and just comes with the truth about how horrible the Second World War was. This book even managed to make me cry several times and for that to happen to me, you really have to hit the soft spot in my heart, because I do not cry easily.

The Genocide/Historical Aspect
Like I already said, I thought this book was absolutely beautiful. I am currently really in the mood for historical fiction and am very glad I decided to pick this up. I love history and know a lot about the Second World War, or at least I thought I did. Turns out I knew absolutely nothing about the genocide of the Baltic people. I have learned about Stalin in school and that he was just as bad as Hitler, I knew people were being deported to camps in Russia, but I thought those were only criminals and I could not see the main character and her family in that way.
Books like this always make me realise how cruel and heartless people can be, it's terrifying, really. How can you let others live in circumstances like that, just because they have different views on the world. 

The Characters
This book was full of easy to like characters and there wasn't anyone I disliked (well apart from the Russian Officers of course). The protagonist in this novel is Lina, a fifteen year old girl who is an incredible artists. All she wants is for her father to reach them and decided to give him hints by making drawings and hiding them, so that later she can mail them to him. I really liked that drawing was what kept her going throughout this book and that she pictured everything happening around her, so that people would eventually know what was going on.
Her mother and ten year old brother are with her in the camp they are send to. Her mother is just the typical easy to love mom who tries to take care of everybody around her, just like the other mothers in their group. It was really beautiful to see a group of complete strangers get together and try to keep each other alive. In most war stories and documentaries I have seen and read, it's every person on their own. 
I also loved how her brother went from a little boy to a mature person trying to take care of his family. Of course it is horrible how a child like himself has to mature so fast because of their way of living, or surviving, really. He manages anyway and tries to provide best for his family by stealing little things such as food to keep them alive.

The Romance
There is a very small romance in this novel. Lina is a teenage girl with feelings and when she meets thing young man, she starts to like him. I loved that despite everything that was happening around the two of them, these people still managed to find each other. I am glad, though, that the romance was kept a little on the side lines, because the main story is still about the journey of a family and if the romance would have taken over, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot less.

The Ending
This was the only thing I was kind of sad about. The ending seemed so abrupt to me, like there was so much of the story yet to be told but wasn't. It just feels like there is a part missing. 
I would have really liked to see Lina's journey back to Lithuania and I would have also loved to see her and Andrius reunite and how all of that happened....but I guess we just have to come up with that ourselves. I do love that she ended up marrying Andrius, it made me so happy.

Favorite Quotes

“Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy—love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit.” 


“...we're dealing with two devils who both want to rule hell.” 


“I looked down at the little pink face in the bundle. A newborn. The child had been alive only minutes but was already considered a criminal by the Soviets.” 


“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.” 

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