www.whyville.net Jan 13, 2013 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray

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"Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch."

It was late at night when I read that phrase in the book and I pictured my little brother sleeping peacefully on the other side of my bedroom walls. "Have you ever read a book so good your life revolved around reading it?" For three days my life revolved around reading "Between Shades of Gray" By Ruta Sepetys.

The book is based in Hitler's time but Lina (the main character) is not a Jewish girl. She's Lithuanian and like many other unfortunate people from the Baltic States was deported to Siberia and put into slavery. This novel holds the inspirational journey of the fictional character Lina. The hardships she suffers throughout the book are some of the same hardships the real people who were deported in 1941 had to face. The author Ruta Sepetys discovered these events in her family history.

There are dark moments in the book. What makes it so special is the way the human spirit shines throughout the story. Humans are remarkable creatures in the way they can survive horrors, fight hardships and demonstrate that love is the most powerful army. My favorite part in the book is when Lina clings to her dying brother in the freezing cold Artic.

The novel is simple, but beautifully written. Ruta Sepetys says at the end of the book "Some wars are about bombing. For the people of the Baltics, this war was about believing. In 1991, after fifty years of brutal occupation, the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity. They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light. Please research it. Tell someone. These three tiny nations have taught us that love is the most powerful army. Whether love of friend, love of country, love of God, or even love of enemy - love reveals to us the truly miraculous nature of the human spirit."

The message of this book will linger with me forever, even when the memory of the words fade. "Lina's journey and incredible strength of spirit will steal your breath, capture your heart and give you hope." Not only did this book turn the pages for itself it also took me 10 tissues to read it and proved to me that hope, like oxygen is what keeps us breathing.

My mission is that at least one person who reads this review will read the book. So go to your local library. See if you can find it. Give it a chance. Once you're done, recommend it to a friend. Tell that friend to pass it on, keep passing it on. Then maybe everyone will be able to read Lina's inspirational journey.


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