In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina's father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.
Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they 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, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
There are a lot of books about war and their outcomes. There are a lot of books speaking of all the horrors that happen during a time of war. What these books sometimes fail to grasp though, is that sometimes the sides of right and wrong, of love and hate, are blurred. This was one of the things that made me adore Between Shades of Gray. When the book started, I had no misconceptions of what I was about to get myself into. I expected to have horrifying images in my head and an overwhelming feeling of sorrow. That’s just how these types of books make you feel. What I got out of it though was more than worth it. One of the first things I want to talk about is the fact that this books is set in WWII. When people write fictional books about WWII, they are often about the Nazis and the reign of terror that Hitler created. I really enjoyed the fact that this book helped to shed light on another side that caused just as many horrific events, and of a man as evil as Hitler. We finally hear about Stalin and the Russians. Lina was a character that I think almost everyone can connect to in some way. She is strong, but she still has her weaknesses like everyone. She is afraid and it’s completely understandable. I think that along with Lina, the author has created incredibly realistic characters and situations. You are able to see the different layers of each character and how these tragedy have changed them. I think that overall this book is one that has the ability to change the way you think about things. It will cause you to appreciate what you have and will ultimately force you to ask yourself, would I have survived?
This book receives a 4/5.