Synopses & Reviews
Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.” --The Washington Post
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
Praise for BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY:
A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”--The New York Times Book Review
A brilliant story of love and survival.”--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls
* Beautifully written and deeply felt
an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”--Booklist, Starred Review
A New York Times Bestseller
An International Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Wall Street Journal Best Childrens Book of 2011
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011
The iTunes 2011 Rewind Best Teen Novel
The #1 Book on the Spring 2011 IndieNext List
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2011
A Booklist Best Book of 2011
A Kirkus Best Book of 2011
2012 IRA Childrens and Young Adults Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
2012 Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
A Carnegie Medal Finalist
A William C. Morris Finalist
"Through the pained yet resilient narration of 15-year-old Lina, a gifted artist, this taut first novel tells the story of Lithuanians deported and sent to Siberian work camps by Stalin during WWII. From the start, Sepetys makes extensive use of foreshadowing to foster a palpable sense of danger, as soldiers wrench Lina's family from their home. The narrative skillfully conveys the deprivation and brutality of conditions, especially the cramped train ride, unrelenting hunger, fears about family members' safety, impossible choices, punishing weather, and constant threats facing Lina, her mother, and her younger brother. Flashbacks, triggered like blasts of memory by words and events, reveal Lina's life before and lay groundwork for the coming removal. Lina's romance with fellow captive Andrius builds slowly and believably, balancing some of the horror. A harrowing page-turner, made all the more so for its basis in historical fact, the novel illuminates the persecution suffered by Stalin's victims (20 million were killed), while presenting memorable characters who retain their will to survive even after more than a decade in exile. Ages 12 up. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Praise for Between Shades of Gray:
“A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”--The New York Times Book Review
“Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.”--The Washington Post
"Beautiful…a superb though grueling novel.”--The Wall Street Journal
“An eye-opening reimagination of a very real tragedy written with grace and heart.”--Los Angeles Times
“An engrossing and poignant story of the fortitude of the human spirit in a dark time in Lithuanian history.”--Associated Press
“Brave Lina is a heroine young and old readers can believe in.”--Entertainment Weekly
“Please read this small window into a tragedy.”--NPR
“Beautifully written and researched, it captures the devastation of war while celebrating the will to survive.”--Family Circle
* “A harrowing page-turner.”--Publishers Weekly, starred review
* “A gripping story.”--School Library Journal, starred review
* “Bitterly sad, fluidly written…Sepetys' flowing prose gently carries readers.”--Kirkus, starred review
* "Beautifully written and deeply felt…an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”--Booklist, starred review
“A haunting chronicle, demonstrating that even in the heart of darkness ‘love is the most powerful army.'”--The Horn Book Magazine
“Stalin deported and murdered millions, but he could not destroy the seeds of memory, compassion, and art that they left behind. From those seeds, Ruta Septeys has crafted a brilliant story of love and survival that will keep their memory alive for generations to come.”--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls
“In terrifying detail, Ruta Sepetys re-creates World War II coming of age all too timely today. Between Shades of Gray is a document long overdue.”--Richard Peck, Newbery Award-winning author of A Year Down Yonder
“Between Shades of Gray is a story of astonishing force. I feel grateful for a writer like Ruta Sepetys who bravely tells the hard story of what happens to the innocent when world leaders and their minions choose hate and oppression. Beautiful and unforgettable.”--Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Newbery Honor-winning author of Hitler Youth
“Sepetys has penned a harrowing and heartbreaking novel. Beautifully written and important.”--Harlan Coben, international bestselling author of Shelter
"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both."--The Washington Post
A New York Times notable book
An International Bestseller
A Carnegie Medal Nominee
Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?
A moving and haunting novel for readers of The Book Thief
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A powerful and haunting debut novel about a little-known slice of history.
About the Author
Ruta Septeys is the multi-award-winning author of the critically acclaimed New York Times
and international bestseller Between Shades of Gray
. Born and raised in Michigan, Ruta grew up in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Her second novel, Out of the Easy
, was published to rave reviews and high acclaim in February 2013. Ruta lives with her husband in Tennessee.
You can visit Ruta online at www.rutasepetys.com, and follow her on Twitter @RutaSepetys.
For more information, please visit: www.betweenshadesofgray.com and www.outoftheeasy.com.