Historical Fiction has never been a genre I really enjoyed. In school, history was actually my least favorite subject. I did well in it. I could memorize what was needed for the test, but none of the information ever stuck with me. I’m not sure what made me pick this book up, but surprisingly, I enjoyed it.
The book actually held my attention the entire way through, which has been a problem for me this past week. Every time I picked up a book I’d get bored and put it down, so I was happy to read something that kept me engaged. Between Shades of Gray was very easy to digest. Before reading it, I thought it would be a lot more bleak and soul-crushing than it actually turned out being. The events that took place were definitely sad, but I think the way it was written softened the blow. More on that in a bit.
Although I enjoyed this book overall, there were 3 main flaws in it for me:
- The Romance
- Okay, I understand that this book is supposed to focus on this heinous event in history and that is at the fore-front. But I can’t help feeling some kinda way about the romance in this book. It should have either been fleshed out more or just left out entirely.
- Withdrawn Writing
- Considering the content of this book, by then end I should have been ugly-sobbing. This book should have destroyed my entire life, but I only got a tiny bit teary at one part. I think this largely had to do with the way Sepetys chose to write it. The prose seemed withdrawn and it stunted the emotional impact it could have had.
- Abrupt Ending
- Towards the end of the book it just stops and BAM! EPILOGUE! It was so abrupt it kind of felt like she just gave up. The ending could have done with some more detailing about how we got from there to what was talked about in the epilogue.
Despite all this, I would recommend this book. Perhaps for someone who doesn’t normally read historical fiction, but you want to try it out…you can start with this book.
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. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?