Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Septys

Hello people! Soo … I’m writing this when I’m sick (boo!) and it’s late. I’m actually copying and pasting from a word doc., but I just need to write the fun stuff at the beginning and end. Yay.

Anyways, this is the historical fiction Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys.

7824322Lina 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.

What I thought:

So … this is one of those “hyped up” books. The only hyped books that I’ve liked have been The Maze Runner trilogy. That’s it. (No, I didn’t really like the Lunar Chronicles or anything. Sorry.) But I thought that I’d give this a shot since, well, I actually don’t know. But it was in at the library, so, yeah. (Also, recently I’ve been liking historical fictions, well, as long as their during some kind of war. Whatever.)

Also, seeing some of the status updates of people on Goodreads … needless to say, I was prepared with tissues and had to psych up my nerves.

I ended up reading it at the end of a reading slump (this year has been the first time that I’d ever had a book slump. Ever. And I’ve had, like, three of them this year.), so I was kinda nervous.


I’m not even sure why, but I did! And I read it in a day. One. Day. At the end of a book slump. Yeah.

Unfortunately, I did not cry. But I really don’t cry during books. The last time that my eyes TEARED UP was when reading book #9 of the kid’s Left Behind series when I was ten. Hahaha, yeah.


Lina is our MC. She’s fifteen and an artist (quite an amazing one at that, which usually bothers me, but didn’t really in this book … so yay!). I wasn’t sure if I’d like her, but I really did! She was pretty mature, which I LOVED, but yet, kept a youthful fear in this book. You can really feel her feelings and she just felt SO REAL.

Jonas is her little brother. He’s so sweet, and it’s just really heartbreaking with what he has to deal with. You can really see his personality shine through with how he deals with this trauma that he’s going through. And it’s amazing to see him – even at such a young age – become a man within these pages.

THEIR MOM. I really didn’t care for her at the beginning. She’s one of those REALLY independent women. Which, I don’t know. Those kinds of women are really hit-or-miss with if I like them or not. But by the end, I actually kinda liked her.

THE LOVE INTREST. From his first moment … I didn’t know how I’d feel about him. He’s all cool and stuff. He smokes (and tears apart a book!!!!!!!) and has a very “whatever” kind of attitude. Needless to say, I totally shipped him and Lina to the moon. Which I felt was a little inappropriate, considering the situation. But whatever.


Miss Septys’ writing was lovely. Very lyrical and beautiful. Usually that writing … I don’t know. I’m just not a very flowy person. But this was just SO GOOD. Really, though.

There were times that the book skipped large amounts of monotonous times … so that got a bit confusing. But usually it was pretty easy to tell when it was happening.


Honestly, I don’t really have a problem with this book. Yes, I felt that the romance moved a bit fast (though it really was the situation, and tons of time was skipped … so I’ll allow it), but seriously.


Now. Time for the “other” stuff.

There were some minor curse words: b***h, h**l, d**n, maybe some others like that. Smoking (but, honestly, that was the time). People got shot and died and stuff (diseases and otherwise).

There was some kissing (!!!). One of the women who was taken was forced to “serve” all the bad soldiers and was forced to sleep with them on occasion. When the people were all to take showers, everyone had to undress, and some of the men … well, I think that you know where I’m going with this.

Basically, I’d DEFINITELY recommend this to you upper teens out there! Though, if you’re younger and can deal with some … WWII things, then MAAAYBE you can try this.

Five Stars ∗∗∗∗∗

So, guys, any genre that you’re getting into??? Yeah, that’s all I got. So long. (Please comment! 😀 )

8 thoughts on “Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Septys

Add yours

  1. I seriously want to try this one! NO SCRAP THAT: I NEED TO TRY IT.😂 I’m actually kind of embarrassed I haven’t already?!? It’s so raved about and so hyped and I always read the hypey books because I have all the curiousness….but somehow this one has just slipped by me. I should try to get onto it this year at least. eeep. I loved the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    Haha, I’m completely the opposite – I literally cry in every book I read, it’s a’slightly worrying. But, surprisingly, I didn’t cry in the Book Thief (which is also a wwii story and is also amazing) even though it was really sad. I guess the narrator kinda prepared us. But I LITERALLY SOBBED IN THE FILM AHHHHH. Have you read the Book Thief? You REALLY should. Let’s make a deal: you read the Book Thief and I read this book? Ok deal done no turning back now mwahaha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right??? I’m surprised myself… 😉
      I HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK THIEF. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that I have! But our new library has a YA section (our old one “did,” but, yeah, no) and The Book Thief is. right. there.
      Haha, maaaaybe. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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