Reviewed by:  Rachel

“Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth?  Well, last night my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch.” In Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, 16 year old Lina Vilkas was taken from her home along with her brother and mother, but her father’s whereabouts are unknown.  It was just a normal night for she and her family in Lithuania and everyone was relaxed, then the Soviets marched in their living room and they realized that death was not as far away from them as they thought. One by one, people were thrown in a truck and taken to an unknown destination against their will.  They arrived at a railroad station and were thrown into boxcars like pigs.  Everyone was considered a criminal, even the children.  But why did all this happen? Stalin was capturing Lithuanians everywhere and was taking them from their homes and forcing them to work in labor camps, much like what Hitler was doing with the Jews. Lina lived in a gray world with little color, but all you need to do is find that color and accept it. Color in life can be hard to find but the easiest way is to love.  You can love through the toughest times, even when you are facing death.  Lina found love and light, but not without trouble.  Her parents were the love in her life until an unexpected turn of events. Lina has stared death in the eyes many times but one person has always saved her.  Can she escape death and find the light or will death welcome her with open arms?

Overall, I loved this book.  Although it was sad and heart-wrenching, the story-line was brilliant.  When reading this novel, you will find a lot of adventure, but maybe not in the normal sense.  The adventure in this novel is not “action packed” in the same way as something like The Hobbit or other similar books.  The anticipation and suspense are what makes you feel the action.  I thought that this book was beautifully written.  The way that colors were used to describe feeling and emotion is genius.  Throughout the whole novel, I felt the sadness and the hurt that all the characters felt.  Between Shades of Gray is an emotional and beautiful story.

I would definitely recommend this book to girls around age 12 and up.  I feel that the hurt and depression I experienced while reading would be too harsh on young readers.  I hope when you read this, you will feel it just the way I did.