Book description:Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages 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, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (taken from Goodreads)
Objectionable:2.5 language? A couples kisses, to save her son's life a character worked as a prostitute among the soldiers, mention of being so skinny and ill fed that Lina didn't have her period, a man asks the soldier did it to Lina and her mom, 2 bath scenes where the women strip in front of the soldiers and bath. Drinking, smoking, stealing, abuse in way of words and lack of food + hard labor. death, shooting, killing, hitting.
Thoughts:Wow. I knew the basics of World War 2, Hitler and bombings. Pearl Harbor. The usual. It was terrible, Hitler hated jews and other people who weren't his picture of perfect. It was a terrible, terrible time. But while I knew all that and had read several historical fiction books set in the war I didn't know it like this book told it. Wow. There aren't many words that can completely sum up this book. Eye opening. Astounding. Beautifully tragic.The tale follows Lina as her entire family is arrested and taken away from their home and life. All because they aided their family members in getting out of Lithuania. And that could be counted as rebellion. Stalin's men were rounding up anyone who had even hinted being against them. And they are shipped (yeah the people) to Siberia. Forced to do hard labor without much food, separated from their family members sometimes and treated badly. This isn't exactly a rainbows and sunshine book. But it's brilliant. The author did a great job of telling this haunting story of Lina and her family.
The writing is great, the characters and side line stories were well done. But the whole experience of the entire book is what really strikes me. When I put down this book I went wow. Remembering it I go wow. For teens and adults this is a great book. I hadn't heard of Stalin before (well maybe once, but not really) and I learned about him and so much more in this book! That time was so terrible...and there are still things that haven't been told yet. The author went and talked to survivors from Lithuania and used some of their stories in this book. So it isn't completely a work of fiction. Parts are TRUE. So this book is scary beautiful and is really shocking. But all in a good way. I would recommend this book highly, it's exciting and informative. I'm only sad that I wasn't able to go to a meet & greet with the author when she was in the area :( However this book is aimed more for older teens and adults, there is some content and horrible things that happen to the characters.
Cover:This is the cover that I read the book with. There is another one on Goodreads that I hadn't seen. It's got like a shoot amongst snow with barbed wire surrounding it on the sides. I personally like this one better. Although apart from the snow it doesn't exactly relate to the story. But it works.