Between Shades of Gray- Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of GrayNote: this is NOT the same book as Fifty Shades of Gray (NB from now on it will simply be known as “the other one” as I don’t want evil words cluttering up this blog) :P. You won’t believe how many people got freaked out when they saw me reading a book with “Shades of Gray” on the title. But believe me, this book is amazing.
This one is written well, and has no bad scenes in it whatsoever, compared to the other one.
It is one of the best books I have ever read.

It’s set in the past during WW2. Unlike other books though, this is about Russia or more specifically Lithuania rather than the holocaust.
It follows a girl called Lina, who has been deported with her mother and brother for being “criminals”. And their father isn’t with them.
They get shoved onto a truck and taken to a train station where these men try to separate her brother from them, and so their mum bribes them; the quote is below (the one about the pocket-watch). They then get taken on a long train journey and during stops Lina, her brother and this guy called Andrius try to find their fathers. And they do (at least Lina’s). And he gives them a piece of ham and tells Lina to send him drawings to help find them. Then they arrive at a farming place, where they are forced to farm and stuff. And something happens to Andrius’ mum… ;(
Then they get deported again…
Oh and because it’s a YA book. Of course Andrius and Lina fall in love. But its the cute type rather than the urgh and horrible type.


I love the cover
It symbolises everything the book stands for. And the shoot represents Lina. A person full of hope when everything around her is bleak and deadly.
Wow. Poetic I know. 😉

I love the title
It just goes onto so many levels… ;( It doesn’t just been the colour gray, and to do with drawing and painting and Lina, and oh the watercolour ash. Also the place where they were in, between snow and snow and snow and grays. And gray kinda means depressing doesn’t it? Oh yeah, and the gray people (NB. not zombies)

The Characters
There are too many to write about, and they all deserve their own little word:
Lina: She was awesome. I loved her. I loved how she always kept hope, she in a way reminded me of Viola from the New World, when she finally takes her mother’s hope. I loved her relationships between all the characters, especially all her family and Andruis. Though at times I wanted to punch her, such as when she was being “selfish” from Andrius, but I really loved her for her imperfections because it just made her more human than just a character in a book, which then just made it sadder and sadder because THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED ;(
Andrius: He was awesome. I loved him. He and Lina suited each other so well, and in a way I’m glad they weren’t all gooey and “I love you”, because it wouldn’t have been like that in real life. There was a point though when my heart literally broke for him, when you know… his mum… ;( and suicide and stuff… It hurt inside.
Jonas: Best. Little. Brother. Ever.
The mother: She was just such a good mother, and her relationship between her and her husband was so good. I loved how she always saw the good side of everyone, it was a nice contrast.
The dad: I felt like I actually knew him really well, even though we actually only met him once. The memories of him were just so heartbreaking and sad… ;(
All the other characters with their lives and stuff ;( including everyone who died.

Lina’s drawings
So clever. But it was sad because it was quite idealistic that it would ever arrive… ;(

The writing style
It’s just beautiful. Every little detail represented something. Like all of the characters who were mentioned once, and never again, they all represented something. And the description was amazing and so poetic and urg… it makes me want to reread it all over again despite the heartwrenchingness of it.
I also liked how she split the book so at the end or in the middle of chapters there were the memories of the past.

The ending ;(
I’m tearing up just thinking about it.
Yeah I guess if I just looked at the ending, it was a happy ending, but once I read the manuscript details… 12YEARS. ;(

Real. Life. 
This stuff happened in real life. Parts of it were real accountants of people there. It makes me feel cold and numb inside. How can people really be that horrible?

Favourite Quotes

  • “Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.”
  • “Sometimes there is such beauty in awkwardness.”
  • “November 20. Andrius’s birthday. I had counted the days carefully. I wished him a happy birthday when I woke and thought about him while hauling logs during the day. At night, I sat by the light of the stove, reading Dombey and Son. Krasivaya. I still hadn’t found the word. Maybe I’d find it if I jumped ahead. I flipped through some of the pages. A marking caught my eye. I leafed backward. Something was written in pencil in the margin of 278.
    Hello, Lina. You’ve gotten to page 278. That’s pretty good!
    I gasped, then pretend I was engrossed in the book. I looked at Andrius’s handwriting  I ran my finger over this elongated letters in my name. Were there more? I knew I should read onward. I couldn’t wait. I turned though the pages carefully, scanning the margins.
    Page 300:
    Are you really on page 300 or are you skipping ahead now?
    I had to stifle my laughter.
    Page 322:
    Dombey and Son is boring. Admit it.
    Page 364:
    I’m thinking of you.
    Page 412:
    Are you maybe thinking of me?
    I closed my eyes.
    Yes, I’m thinking of you. Happy birthday, Andrius.” (NB. Sorry for the long quote, but I just love it so much!)
  • “We’d been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean.”
  • “I shut the bathroom door and caught sight of my face in the mirror. I had no idea how quickly it was to change, to fade. If I had, I would have stared at my reflection, memorizing it. It was the last time I would look into a real mirror for more than a decade.”
  • “I planted a seed of hatred in my heart. I swore it would grow to be a massive tree whose roots would strangle them all.”
  • “No. Don’t be scared. Don’t give them anything Lina, not even your fear.”
  • “Krasivaya. It means beautiful, but with strength. Unique.”

Are you joking? 5 shuriken stars. No doubt about it. You have no idea how much self control it takes to not put caps lock on now and scream for everyone to read it! So please, to avoid me screaming and hugging and god knows what else, READ IT. (Sorry couldn’t help myself…)


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