Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 7654
Shades of gray
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
I honestly have no idea how to review this book, and that doesn’t happen often with me. Between Shades of Gray is something entirely outside my previous reading experiences. It’s not the subject matter—I’ve read about Soviet labor camps before. It’s not the prose—Sepetys didn’t astound me, though her writing was effective. And it wasn’t the characters—Lina and her mother and brother were nice but not anything new.

Maybe it was the combination of it all, the elements that came together and made this book. It’s just…this book gave me a lot to think about. It’s very intricate, and quite a bit more mature than your typical YA novel.

So the story is about Lina, a Lithuanian girl who is deported and taken to Siberia. She first works at a beet farm, and she stays there for about ten months. There she experiences her first love, has all of her childhood assumptions challenged. After than she’s dragged up to the top of the Arctic Circle, where she watches her friends and family slowly die off in the freezing cold. And when it seems like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel, the book ends.

But while I was disappointed that the book ended there, I think it was most likely a good choice. Lina was doomed to stay in the labor camps for decades longer, and while the struggle was survival, it was also about strength. And once Lina finds that she can maintain her strength in the situation she’s in, I guess the book had come to its natural conclusion. And by leaving things open-ended, Sepetys kept things realistic, as Lina couldn’t just “get out” of her situation by any means.
Lina’s character wasn’t super original or amazing, but the development of her personality was fantastic. We watch her go from a self-centered, naive 15 year old to a world-weary and resilient young woman. I loved watching that growth, as it was so subtle and delicately done.

And going back to the ending (it’s the best part, seriously), there was an epilogue that takes place in 1995, forty years after the main events in Between Shades of Gray. That epilogue was the final touch to this book—a taste of stark realism but also of hope.

Verdict: This is a hard book to talk about, but it’s a beautiful book to read. Between Shades of Gray defies classification, and I’m conflicted about it. There’s no doubt that I liked it, but I can’t explain to you why, nor can I explain what I didn’t like. I just know that I wanted more. More book, more story, more of everything. This book just is. And it’s definitely a recommended read.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Dinosnores (Boynton on Board)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Honk SHOOOOOO! Honk SHOOOOOO! . . .” ...
Good Day, Good Night
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Now in a sturdy board book format, perfect for little...
TBH, This May Be TMI (TBH, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Told entirely in text messages, the second book in this...
I've Loved You Since Forever
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times #1 Bestseller! ...
My Baby Loves Christmas
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the My Baby Loves Christmas board book, celebrate all...
Riverland
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
When things go bad at home, sisters Eleanor and Mike...
All You Need Is a Pencil: The Totally Sick Sick-Day Activity Book
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A perfect, device-free remedy to what to do when the...
Animazes
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Follow fascinating journeys of animal migration in this beautiful book...
Christmas Cheer for The Grouchy Ladybug
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Hugs...
Baby Loves the Five Senses: Hearing!
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Big, brainy science for the littlest listeners. ...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki from Bainbridge Island, Washington is...
Laugh-Out-Loud Halloween Jokes: Lift-the-Flap
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The #1 bestselling Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids series is bringing...

Latest Member Reviews

 
5.0
"In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki is disgusted when he finds out that his pen-pal Charlie is a girl. Still, they..."
Loki: Where Mischief Lies
 
3.0
"LOKI: WHERE MISCHIEF LIES tells a new story of teen Loki, before all the big battles and intergalactic feuds with..."
Jane Anonymous: A Novel
 
5.0
"Told from the perspective of a girl who was captured and escaped, JANE ANONYMOUS is a thriller of both physical..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"posso usare l'italiano or english"
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
4.7
"In all seriousness, Fireborne by Rosaria Munda is the best. I have nothing to compare it to. It is unique,..."
Tweet Cute
 
4.3
"TWEET CUTE is a fun enemies-to-dating and anonymous-You've-Got-Mail style YA contemporary romance. The book follows the two protagonists in equal..."
Throw Like a Girl
 
4.3
"THROW LIKE A GIRL is a charming story about chasing your dreams, a little romance, and a passion for sports...."
The Boy Next Story
 
4.0
"'The Boy Next Story' by Tiffany Schmidt follows main character Aurora, who goes by Rory, as she tries to figure..."
 
4.0
"Veronica can see the ghost of her dead mother. She also suffers from debilitating migraines that hold her back from..."
Pax Novis (The Pax Archives, #1)
 
4.0
"PAX NOVIS is an engaging YA sci-fi novel that takes place in the future, when humans have colonized other planets...."
And I Darken
 
3.3
"To be honest, I went into this expecting vampires. I guess between the visual tone to the..."
Endling: The First
 
5.0
"Applegate delivers an action-packed middle-grade sequel in a uniquely otherworldly setting, with characters that are relatable, cute and fuzzy, along..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
5.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION is an incredible new YA fantasy that combines a dark mystery, magic, and romance/love into a gorgeous,..."
Refraction
 
4.3
"REFRACTION is a highly readable/devourable book that is certainly a page-turner. In the post-apocalyptic future, a small island appears to..."
Jason & Kyra
 
N/A
"hi :) bross :)"
Fan the Fame
 
4.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Excuse me, who gave Anna Priemaza permission to bug my house and use my brother and I..."
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight
 
3.7
"Los Angeles, Ferguson, and Baltimore. Three cities where years of racism, injustice, unchecked police brutality, and rampant anti-Black racism came..."
Serpent & Dove
 
4.0
"I’d been hearing about this book on Bookstagram, BookTube, and BookTwitter as an anticipated release for September 2019. And then..."
Stalking Jack the Ripper
 
5.0
"I have no words….well, that’s a lie. I have lots of words. Just where to start?! Stalking Jack the Ripper..."
How to Make Friends with the Dark
 
3.0
"A weighty YA Contemporary, grappling with a wide array of crises and quandaries. What I..."