Between Shades Of Grey – Ruta Sepetys

I picked this book up from my local second hand book shop for a whopping 90 pence after hearing a review about it by one of the BookTubers. It sounded right up my alley, a second world war historical fantasy novel for young adults, so how could I resist?

Between Shades of Grey follows Lina and her family as they are taken by Stalin’s police and deported from Lithuania to the work camps in Siberia, Russia and forced to work for 12 hours a day in order to receive their 300 gram daily ration of bread. You become immersed into their world, shovelling as they are forced to dig graves, seeing the extent of the evil that humans possess and sharing in their humanity and kindness as the look after and protect those around them. Between Shades of Grey shows you both of the extremes that humans possess; the ability to treat humans like they have no value and the desperation for survival and the community spirit that prevails throughout even the toughest times.

This is one of the best war stories for young adults I’ve read in a long time, and it made me discover something I probably should have known about a long time ago; Stalin had concentration camps in Russia for those opposing his communist regime. I was not aware of this and this shocked me. Surely this is a fact that should be taught throughout the education systems across the globe, however it slipped past my learning. It never occurred to me that it was during the Second World War that the Road of Bones was constructed and I don’t know how many people, especially young people, know about the Road of Bones and how it was made.

I highly recommend this book; it will make you smile and cry, sometimes at the same time. It’s a beautifully written story about a time period that should never be forgotten.

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