Rating: 5/5 stars.
I read this book everywhere. In the school cafeteria and on the school’s tiled hallway floors, at the tennis courts, during an academic examination, and alone in my room. I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want to put it down, either. I felt like I was carrying a small piece of something real, something bigger than just the words and the story contained inside the casing of the book. I felt like I was holding history, imbued with human emotion.
Ruta Sepetys’s descriptions and characterizations are perfect. There was one minor part where an old woman’s bread was taken away from her that tore at my heart, even though the scene didn’t take up more than a page. Alternatively, there were other parts concerning Lina and her relationships with those around her that caused me to rejoice in the strength of mankind.
After reading this book, I almost felt shame for not previously knowing the conditions that those who lived under Stalin suffered. How could anything so horrid and heart-wrenching stay a secret for so long? With Between Shades of Gray, Sepetys reveals the truth of World War II by telling a sad but ultimately uplifting story.