Between Shades of Gray

By Ruta Sepetys

Big image


During World War II, everyone was so caught up with Hitler that they forgot about Josef Stalin. Stalin made a list of people that were considered "Anti Soviet". He invaded Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia and arrested everyone who was on the list. This was kept a secret from the rest of the world and no one had any idea this was going on. Unfortunately for fifteen year old Lina, her mother, and her brother Jonas, they were on the list and were arrested in the middle of the night by the NKVD.. The men were separated from the women and children. The men were taken to prisons and the women/children were stuffed into train cars and shipped to Siberia. Because of this, Lina worries about her father throughout her journey and even comes up with a plan to find him. Lina spends six weeks in a crowded train car, which was crawling with lice and smelled like sweat and urine. They are barely given any food or water and few even died from malnutrition. She is taken to a small village and is put to work. Everyone is given a job and they work all day just for a small piece of bread. After about a year, Lina and her family is moved up north, just past the Arctic Circle. There, they're put to work again, only this time, conditions are far more worse and dangerous. Will Lina be able to find her father? Will she be able to survive and escape the NKVD? Read to find out.


  • Lina: Main character, extremely talented artist, she was getting ready for a prestigious art school before she was arrested, stubborn yet brave.
  • Jonas: Lina's younger brother, loved by everyone, positive person, quick learner
  • Elena: Lina's mother, seen as the leader of the pack since she's the only one who is fluent in Russian, makes decisions for the entire group, everyone looks up to her.
  • Andrius: Seventeen year old boy, Lina's love interest. Mother made herself a prostitute and receives special treatment from the NKVD.
  • Nikolai: Apart of the NKVD, tried to help Elena but Lina is doubtful and tries to keep her away from him. He means no harm and only wants to help Lina's family.
Between Shades of Gray book trailer


I really enjoyed this book. I've read it about five times already and it's my favorite book. I recommend this book to others because it's various genres in one book. Also, we don't learn about the NKVD Prisoner Massacres in class, and it's interesting to read about. Anyone would enjoy this book because it is a mix of historical fiction, drama, and slight romance.