Lina Vilkas is an average 15 year old girl with a prestigious art school to look forward too, typical teenage problems, and a family who loves and supports her through her everyday life. Her life as she knows it is shattered before her when Soviet secret police unexpectedly barge into their elegant Lithuanian home one summers night in 1941, leaving nothing but broken shards of her life behind. Lina, her younger brother Jonas, and her head strong mother are separated from their father and deported to Siberia where they endure hours of grueling work, starvation, disease, and months of bitter cold which tested their physical and emotional strength to the point of self-depletion. Along the way they find people to share their misfortunes with, trust and confide in, and ultimately renew a sense of love and hope which was otherwise lost without the ties of support binding them together. Published in March 2011, Between Shades of Gray is an awe inspiring novel brimming with a continuous sense of survival, love, and hope in times of great darkness and despair, which produces a pivotal dynamic to an otherwise grim tale.
The author, Ruta Sepetys, used extensive research of her own background, survivors of Stalin’s reign, and accounts from parliament and other supreme officials to compose her surprisingly raw account of a forgotten horror (betweenshadesofgray.com). Her own grandparents were refugees during the Soviet domination of the Baltic States, which compelled her to tell the story of those who were silenced in doing so. Ruta’s novel was greatly influenced by the accounts of the survivor’s she interviewed in Lithuania and many of them were the basis for the dynamic character’s developed in Between Shades of Gray. The plot and setting were also extremely accurate, as she had visited many of the sites depicted during the Soviet’s regime of terror. She was able to research documents and art preserved from that time which conveyed emotions of the...
Sepetys Ruta, Between Shades of Gray, Philomel Books, March 2011, Print.
Thea, Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, N.P, 15 August 2012, Web. 10
Sanne, Interview with Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Grey), booksandquils, 7 September 2011, Web.
10 January 2013, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad08c8fTTEU>
N.A., Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, N.P, N.D, Web, 10 January 2013,
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