Between Shades of Gray-Ruta Sepety
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.
First off, this has no relation to the latest gray bestseller. None whatsoever.
This was brutal. The simple writing cloaks the very detailed and depressing story to stay true to the reality. I'm sure we've all read YA books about the World Wars, countless Holocaust books and Nazi Germany as well as tons of American and British GIs stories and of course the whole espionage genre. Less well published are the stories of Eastern Europe and Western Asian. Here is one of them showing exactly how horrible Stalin was and how he killed 5-10 million people. Tension is racketed high from the first sentence and kept higher as Lina's journey to Siberia went on. By focusing on this girl, this family, Sepety makes the scale of the atrocities into something we can experience. And even better, Sepety balances this tension with some hope. It sounds corny to say I liked how love triumphed over the horror but within this book, it was not corny or contrived. I'd really like to recommend this book to anyone interested in the Soviets or WWII.