Sunday, November 27, 2011

Between Shades of Gray by Rita Sepetys is a young adult novel based upon actual accounts of the atrocities by Stalin and the Soviets during the 1940’s- 1960’s. Protesting intellectuals from Latvia, Estonia, and the other countries taken over by Soviets were rounded up and shipped in cattle cars to Siberia where they were imprisoned or put to work on farms with the expectation that they would be worked to death. The spouses and children of the intellectuals were not spared and thus this account is told by the 16 year old daughter of a college provost. The mother and father of this girl both die and she and her little brother are eventually sent to the arctic circle to perform slave labor supporting the army personnel who are stationed there. There is an element of romance between Lina and a boy as well as tension caused by the young soldier who obviously admires her. I doubt that teenage girls will be drawn to read this story even though it holds many of the same plot elements as the popular Twilight books. It’s just too depressing… especially when they realize that it is more fact than fiction!

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