Friday, January 6, 2012

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

If you like to learn about history when you read a book, but also like a quick read and a riveting story, Between Shades of Gray is the book for you.

If you enjoyed reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and other historical fiction books about the Holocaust and WW II, you will race through this book.

I never knew Lithuanians were deported from their country during WW II, but in this historical novel I learned that fifteen-year-old Lina and her family were taken from their comfortable home in Lithuania and sent to a cold, bleak camp where they were forced to pick beets all day and had to sleep on wooden planks at night. Beatings and shootings came randomly from guards who were unpredictable at best. And if these conditions weren't bad enough, Lina and her family were again taken and sent to Siberia.

Siberia - where it is dark half of the year and incredibly cold! Here they didn't even have a hut to sleep in and disease swept through the prisoners.

However, courage, love, and resilience shine throughout this book. I am very glad I read this book and I think you will be, too.


  1. RESENT: book review request by award-winning author

    Dear Faith,

    I'm an award-winning author with a new book of fiction. Ugly To Start
    With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about teen life
    published by West Virginia University Press in November
    of 2011.

    Can I interest you in reviewing it?

    I wrote to you this past fall, but lost much of my AOL mail from that
    time, thanks to overwhelming SPAM. If you replied, my apologies.

    Perhaps you now have more time to consider a book review or Q&A?

    My book's only 160 pages short. The writing is easy and open, and all
    the stories are interconnected--same hero and story arc throughout. It
    reads like a brisk novel in the form of stories.

    If you write me back at, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:

    My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher's website:

    Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
    Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: "In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering--emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

    My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

    I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

    For more information about me, please visit:

    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


    John Michael Cummings

  2. This book was a wonderful surprise. It covers a dark subject but it done beautifully. I highly recommend this book.
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