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Teens Review Teen Lit

Friday, September 5, 2014

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Reviewed By: M.S.
In 1941, 15yr old Lina, her 11yr old brother Jonas and her mother are taken away by secret Soviet police. They are being deported along with several other Lithuanians to Siberia. This story takes place during the time period where Stalin annexed the Baltic states. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia where many civilians were wrongly accused of being criminals and taken away to labor camps, such of what happened to Lina's family. But Lina has a gift, she's a beautiful artist and is determined to use her drawings, which if found could get her killed by the NKVD, to help her father...or anyone, find her and her family and get them back to safety. And she's not scared at all to speak her mind and do as she pleases in order to accomplish just that...which could get her in dangerous trouble at times . This story is very interesting but very depressing as you follow the journey of Lina and her family being shoved into a cattle truck and driving for days in terrible conditions to only wind up in labor camps.
Why I Picked it Up: It was highly recommended by Amelia to read.
Why I Finished It: There's no way you can't finish it. Though depressing it draws you in right away and you are instantly connected to not only Lina but all the other Lithuanians who are only trying to survive.
I’d Give this Book To: I recommend it to a very mature reader, probably of 16 or up to read only because the history and plot are very deep topic that is hard to appreciate and understand unless you are older. Plus the things that happen in the book are graphic and intense, so you have to be older to handle it and be able to still sty connected to the story. I really suggest this book especially because it wasn't just made up out of the blue out of the author's imagination. Ruta Sepetys is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee and used her mother and research in history for inspiration to as she put it "speak for the thousands who couldn't" to create this book.

**Librarian Side Note** So, I know it says I recommended this book above, so it should be obvious that I'd like you read it! Also, this author has written a second book called Out of the Easy which is on the 2015 Abraham Lincoln Award list, so check out this author and let me know what you think!

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