Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys image

Um... so I'm a bit torn on this one but I'm going to rate it 3.5 stars. I think what made it worse was all the bloody hype (like with Matched) that made me think this was going to blow my mind and it kind of just, well, didn't.

It was an interesting history lesson. My knowledge of Soviet activities was previously more political than social and anything I did know of the more personal impact on people's lives was what I'd gained from German museums telling the story of the Berlin wall. It's true that the Baltic countries often slip our minds and not much thought is given to the horrors that went on there during the reign of Stalin; bearing that in mind, the Lithuanian perspective was fresh and interesting, not the typical story of oppression under communism. This I liked.

But I'm not going to overlook the fact that I spent the first two thirds of the book just waiting for it to be over and thinking it another highly-anticipated disappointment. The story mainly consisted of two cramped journies in a cart and a struggle to survive starvation, scurvy and whatever else on a daily ration of 300g of bread. It was awful, I get that, truly it was... but in a novel you expect something more gripping. Maybe the author tamed down the harshness for a young adult audience but the result was a mostly drab and boring story.

That being said, there were sad and moving moments that did manage to somewhat redeem the novel. I also liked the love story subplot going on, mostly because I liked Andrius, it wasn't too much and remained in the background to the real story but it was nice.

So, yeah, I was looking for something more out of this book, the story dragged too much. However, the author's note at the end made me cry.