Between Shades Of Gray

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Ruta Sepetys
April 2011
344 pp
Whole book read
Read On? YES

Ruta Sepetys discusses her upcoming novel, Between Shades of Gray from Penguin Young Readers Group on Vimeo.

As the author herself says in the book trailer above, the war crimes of Hitler are well known and well documented both in histories and in fiction. The war crimes of Stalin and the sufferings inflicted on the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are not so widely known, especially amongst the young.
The American author is of Lithuanian descent and her novel is based both on personal family history and on general research. After the Baltic states had been annexed to Russia lists of those deemed unsympathetic to the Russian state were compiled. The men were arrested and imprisoned. Women and children were herded onto cattle trains and sent away to camps in Siberia.
The novel follows the experiences of a 15 year old girl, Lina, her mother and brother as they are shipped away to a cruel Arctic winterland. Sepetys makes a compelling case for her story in the book trailer (as she did also when I heard her speak recently at a Puffin event). I was pleased to find that as a novelist, she tells her frequently harrowing story just as compellingly. The only parts that didn't work for me were the italicised sections, which I found distracting and unnecessary.
This powerful and important novel is a very impressive debut from a new author.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on May 1, 2011 9:18 AM.

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