Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Reader's Ramble- Between Shades of Gray

For this Reader's Ramble I will be reviewing Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

Page count- 344

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 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?

Plot- I really liked this story, so I really don't have anything bad to say about it. This was just such a unique story. It is about WWII but, it's the part of the war that not a lot of people know about. It's about Soviets, Russia, Lithuania, and a horrible man named Joseph Stalin, who is a lot like Hitler.. without the Nazis.

It still confuses me a little, so I can't explain it to you all well. It's just all really interesting to read about.
What these characters go through.. it just makes me want to cry. And they did NOTHING WRONG. They still remain to stay strong even when things are terrible. There are tons of other WWII books, but this one is really different. I loved the story line, it kept me hooked the whole way through. I was never bored. Some parts of this story can really get to you and make you hate certain people even more. She adds flashbacks into the story, which is great and help us get to know the MC and her family more.
It starts out with a bang, no hesitation involved. They get arrested right away and start their long, long, life changing journey. It was just great. Sepetys took a different approach with this book, and succeeded. It's not like other YA novels, it's way more serious. There is a teensy bit of romance in this but, not much. It's just the right amount and it's all this story needs.

Setting- The setting of this book was in a few different places. Lithuania, Siberia, and one other country I can't remember the name of. The time it starts is 1941 and goes on from there. I mean I don't really have an opinion about it, I guess I'm supposed to hate it since all those people had to go to these places and go through horrible things. But, it fit the story well. I guess I liked and hated it at the same time...

Theme- I really think the main theme of this novel, even though it sounds cheesy, is never lose hope.

"That's when I saw it. A tiny sliver of gold appeared between shades of gray on the horizon. I stared at the amber band of sunlight, smiling. The sun had returned."

That line right there, is a metaphor for that. If you've read the book, you totally understand. Even the title is a metaphor. Even between shades of gray, there is light. There is hope.

Characters- Goodness gracious, where do I begin? I loved them all. Lina, the MC was definitely my favorite. She seems like if she existed, she'd be my friend. She is just so unique and such a strong girl. Even when all hope seems to be lost, she is determined to survive. She loves her family and her friends, and she loves her art. The things she draws are just so cool. I love her as a character and her voice.

The rest of the characters are great too. I could go on and introduce you to all of them but that would take a while. They are all so realistic and you can find someone like them in your life. You get attached to a lot of them also. You really get attached. It scares you when something happens to one of them. You can feel all their pain. I didn't dislike a single character. Loved all of them. Well, not the NKVD(Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennih Del.. it's Russian for like police officer I think..) officers...I want to kill them.. but all the good, innocent Lithuanians I love. :)

Overall- Overall, I loved this. It was a really great, serious, and informative read. A nice break from normal YA Lit. This novel is very very sad at points, but has a happy ending. *cheers* Well.. sorta happy...

There are some very shocking scenes in this novel. My mouth dropped on certain parts, not wanting to believe that someone could be so cruel and people actually had to go through that. I did almost cry, which is hard to achieve with me. I never cry. Except for The Book Thief. If you are an emotional person, you will definitely cry for this, so get the tissues ready!

Those horrible scenes make you feel a mix of emotions- Hatred, shock, sympathy, sadness, disbelief, anger, and confusion. I wish I could have slapped some people at some points. If an author can achieve all those emotions in one book, then that's an achievement.

 This is a different aspect of WWII as I said above, and it's very interesting to learn about.
There was nothing I disliked about this novel.. so with that being said...this novel gets 5/5 stars! It was one of my favorite reads and I highly recommend it to all of you. This deserves a place on a shelf next to the brilliant The Book Thief.

Up next.. Fixing Delilah!


Anonymous said...

"This deserves a place on a shelf next to the brilliant The Book Thief."

I put this on my birthday wishlist for my mom, and I'm so glad I did. It sounds fantastic! Of course, I'm sure I'll cry, because I'm pretty sure I've cried at the end of everything from the seventh Harry Potter book, to the end of "The Book Thief", to the end of the movie "Titanic". All sorts of books and movies make me cry. So if this made you almost cry, I'm pretty sure I will. ;)

Nice ramble!

Anonymous said...

Wow it sounds really good! You made me want to read it. :) I have read quite a few WWII books but those are usually about the Nazis and I don't know much about Stalin except for he locked people up (?)

Sam said...

Sounds like an awesome book!
I know a lot about Stalin since last year we had a huge WWII unit in school. He had his own problems like Hitler did, except it was in Russia, pretty much.

Paige said...

@Taylor- Yeah, you'll love it! Especially since you like historical fiction. I cried the first time I saw Titanic too haha. Can't wait until you read it!

@Sophia- It's great. Well, Stalin did a lot of the same things Hitler did. I guess you could say they were "partners in crime."

@Sam- Yeah exactly like Hitler was in Germany, Stalin was in Russia. It's very sad but it's a good read.

Thanks for commenting guys!