Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 8514
Important story told in a beautiful way
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Okay, first of all, I didn't even know the Baltic deportations happened. And after reading the author's note that follows the story, a lot of people don't know it happened. But it did. Many of the events in this book are based on things that actually happened. So I'm glad I read this book not only for the beautiful writing and the moving story, but also because it opened my eyes to an extremely dark period in human history that has been largely ignored by the rest of the world.

As for the story itself, it is heartbreaking, but also encouraging. Lina and her little brother are forced to grow up fast in the labor camps, and their strength is inspiring. Probably one of my absolute favorite characters was their mother, and I found myself aching with what she must have gone through in order to try to make life bearable for her children. I also found the array of characters extremely interesting. Not all the prisoners are inspiring -- one, in particular, drove me crazy every time he opened his mouth -- and not all the guards are despicable. I always find it fascinating when stories will explore why good people may be pushed to do terrible things, and while this one doesn't dive too deeply into that subject -- since its narrator is a 15-year-old deportee -- it touched on it in a thought-provoking way.

The events are extremely difficult to read about. From the moment the Vilkas family is pulled from their home, nothing that happens to them is easy or pleasant. Many of the things that happen are shocking and terrible, and all the more horrifying to know that humans once found this sort of treatment acceptable. Good and admirable characters wither and die, while abominable characters thrive. Much like reading about the Holocaust, reading about the Baltic deportations is not a pleasant experience.

At the same time, the writing is lovely. Ruta tells the story using sparse and simple prose that cut straight to the emotional core of what is happening. It took no time at all for me to be completely immersed in the story, and while the events it depicted were appalling, the way they were presented was beautiful. It made the small moments of love and kindness in the midst of an incredibly bleak time shine through that much more.

I think Between Shades of Gray is already on many school reading lists, as it should be. It's both educational and moving, a fantastic example of both fine writing and important storytelling. I loved it even as it broke my heart again and again, and I'd recommend this book to anyone.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

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

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ali McMillian almost drowned. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill accident either;...
Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Make me a girl with a razor heart… ...
Moonscript
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes...
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl...
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They have a love-hate relationship with summer. ...
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save...
11004295_10203571569113600_1962266189_n.jpg
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
*****Best YA Book & Author of the Year***** The...
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz...
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
12-year-old Julia keeps a diary about her life growing...
Salty, Bitter, Sweet
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more...
Brown Girl Ghosted
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Violet Choudhury may be part of the popular clique...
Defy the Sun (The Offering Series, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this electrifying YA sequel to Beware the Night,...
Something New
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cassie Briggs never thought she’d be married at age sixteen—especially...
Crave
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy....
I Love You, Daddy (Peter Rabbit)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
An adorable rhyming Peter Rabbit book that celebrates dads everywhere....

Latest Member Reviews

Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
"Now that Mena and the other girls have escaped Innovations Academy, they find their past hasn't left them. Mena vows..."
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
"THE LUCKY ONES is quite an emotional ride. The book follows May and Zach in alternating first person points-of-view. May..."
 
4.0
"GIRL, SERPENT, THORN is a YA fairytale retelling by Melissa Bashardoust. The story follows Soraya, a princess who is cursed..."
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
"MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT is a book that reminds readers of all the possibilities and freedom of summer vacation. We..."
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
"SWORD IN THE STARS is a satisfying conclusion to a delightful YA fantasy retelling of King Arthur in space! Picking..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
4.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION by Kiersten White is the first book in a YA retelling of the classic Arthurian legend. Guinevere,..."
Crave
 
4.3
"CRAVE is a really engaging new YA fantasy/paranormal romance that follows Grace in the first person. Grace lost her parents..."
Golden Arm
 
5.0
"Lazarus Weathers lives in the Jet City trailer park in Seattle with his mother and half brother, Antonio. He has..."
Ember Queen (Ash Princess, #3)
 
4.3
"EMBER QUEEN is a great conclusion to the Ash Princess trilogy. Picking up right where book 2 left off, Theo..."
Kissing Lessons
 
5.0
"'Kissing Lessons' by Sophie Jordan is a well-written, entertaining story about a variety of main characters, including Hayden Vargas, Nolan..."
Lady Smoke (Ash Princess, #2)
 
5.0
"LADY SMOKE is every bit as addictive as the first in this engrossing trilogy. Picking up where the first book..."
The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1)
 
4.0
"The Queen's Assassin is a fantasy romance geared toward the younger YA reader. It is told from the first person..."
Ash Princess (Ash Princess, #1)
 
5.0
"ASH PRINCESS is an engaging YA fantasy that takes us to the conquered land of Astrea. Theodosia's mother, the Fire..."
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
"At age twelve, Julia starts writing in a diary. She writes about what she witnesses in her town of Juarez,..."
Sting
 
3.3
"STING is an intriguing YA dystopian retelling of THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO. The world has been ravaged by climate..."
The Paper Girl of Paris
 
4.0
"The Paper Girl of Paris is written by journalist Jordyn Taylor and is set in both historical 1940’s and nowadays..."
The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie, #1)
 
5.0
"THE MIDNIGHT LIE is a lush and atmospheric YA fantasy. The book transports us to another world, where people are..."
Defy the Sun (The Offering Series, #2)
 
4.7
"DEFY THE SUN is a fantastic conclusion to this YA fantasy duology. This book picks up right where the first..."
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
 
3.7
"Carmen Santos cover as a La Voz soldier has been exposed. She flees back to the La Voz's headquarters, leaving..."
In the Hall with the Knife
 
4.0
"Blackbrook Academy is an elite school in Maine with rigorous competition. When a storm strikes, a group of students, their..."