Between the Shades of Gray

By: Ruta Sepetys


In Lithuania 1941 Lina, her mother, and brother are startled by the knock at the door. Lina's life was forever changed after she saw who was there. The Soviet Secret Police arrest them and throw them into a train car They are separated from Lina's father. They are thrown I train cars. On the way Lina finds out that her brothers life was worth a pocket watch. Lina soon finds out that they are in Siberia. Lina draws and secretly passes them on, hoping they will reach her father. She fights for her life and she tries to help the ones around her. Will she be able to stay alive with her love ones?


Never giving up will help you never lose hope. Lina, her mother, and brother never lose hope that the war will end. They always say "never lose your hope" - Mrs. Vilkas. They always try to find food to keep them alive. They also look for other supplies to keep them alive. Sometimes they come home with nothing, and somedays they risk their lives. Then the next day they will go out to see if there is any thing out there. They never give up and they never give up there hope.


My person I have chosen to research is Joseph Stalin. He was a very powerful man of the Soviet Union. He climbed a ladder of power. Each rung being a person. He climbed the ladder to get as high as he could get. The people called him selfish, cruel, and powerful. He wanted everything his way. When he was younger he learned at a theological seminary where he began to read Marxist literature. He never did graduate the class, so he dropped out. Instead devoting his time to the revolutionary movement against the Russian monarchy(a form of goverment) . He spent the next 15 years as an activist. Change in political and social change. He was arrested many times. When he was arrested he was taken to Siberia. After he got tried of being arrested he joined the Soviet Union.


I think the author did a wonderful job telling the story about WWII in the USSR. The way Miss Ruta wove her story reminded me of my history books. From what I have researched she has done a fascinating job in describing this horrific time in history. Ruta has not only depicted the war, but has kept the characters true to the way it was in history. For example we look at Joseph Stalin. He was in retrospect a true communist leader in every way. She used him as a leader in the camp. He was always gaining power though the Nazi camp. He wanted to gain power up to the head Nazi Hitler. Ruta made it clear in her book, that in history Joseph was a very powerful man.

Learn more about the book and Ruta!

Learn more about Joseph Stalin click below!


"Joseph Stalin ." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.

Alex Lambert