Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
This award-winning historical novels sheds light on World War II from a different angle, that of Lithuanians. During this war Lithuania was occupied by first Russia, then Nazi Germany and finally Russia again. This skillfully drawn story details Lina’s family’s expulsion from their home to a work camp in farthest Siberia. Lina is an artist, and sketches pictures of her family, the other prisoners and the terrible condition they live under. This is probably what saves her from going mad, but she must hide them carefully as the Soviet guards would consider them subversive and would execute her immediately.
Sepetys does an amazing job showing readers this bleak part of history through the eyes of a teenaged girl. Although the story is generally depressing, there are some brighter sections showing how the prisoners care for one another and keep hope alive despite the degrading circumstances of the camps. I highly recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction and anyone interested in World War II.
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