Y'Tin's Ama is just one of the village men who helped the Americans during the war. Knowing that his presence would only endanger the lives of his wife and children, he's all for setting out into the jungle. But. Before the men can leave. Before anyone can leave, the threat becomes all too real, all too urgent. The message used to be any day now, now the message is they're here, they're coming, flee!
Y'Tin, our narrator, is an elephant handler. Yes, he's young--only thirteen--but he's good at what he does. Lady is his elephant to handle. She is his responsibility. The village has two other elephants--each with their own handler--as well. Y'Tin loves elephants; he loves Lady. He has promised to care for her throughout her life. But it's a promise that the war may make impossible to keep.
A Million Shades of Gray is a devastating book. It shows a village, a country, torn apart by war. It's chaotic. It's violent. It's ugly. Y'Tin may have known war most of his life--it may be all that he's able to remember. But he doesn't like it. He doesn't understand why.
The novel is well written, just what I'd expect from a Newbery award-winning author. It's rich in cultural detail. Y'Tin is a great narrator. His story was compelling though bittersweet. I found this one hard to put down. I would definitely recommend this one.