Sunday, March 25, 2012

Between Shades of Gray

Sepetys, R. (2011). Between Shades of Gray. NY: Philomel.
YA / Historical Fiction
 UPDATE: I created a thirty-second trailer for this book for day 20 of the Holiday Break Reading Challenge. Check it out!

This book is amazing and tells about a period in history that was unfamiliar to me - Stalin, and his Reign of Terror.  Before I even discuss my thoughts, I encourage anyone to view this trailer/book talk by the author.  It's eleven minutes, but it's well worth the time. (you can also go to the Official Book Website for more information)


I was absolutely swallowed-up in this very real story and couldn't put it down.  The style of incorporating flashbacks of her good, normal life as fifteen-year-old Lina is dragged through the atrocities of Stalin's army was a powerful tool to remind readers of the contrast, cruelty, and unfairness to the Lithuanians (Estonians, Latvians, and Finns). My heart ached for these people, and I had to remind myself that the story wasn't really fiction.  Humans had to endure this treatment in the not so distant past.  Even after they were released, those few who survived the injustices weren't able to live freely in their homes or have their lives back.  As recently as the '90s, they still lived in fear.

This is such a powerful story and every bit as important as knowing the story of Anne Frank and Hitler's attempts at genocide.  Stalin was an equal monster.

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