March 5, 2018

[REVIEW] Between Shades of Gray (audio)

title: Between Shades of Gray
author: Ruta Sepetys; Emily Klein (narrator)
genre: young adult, historical fiction
published: March 22, 2011 by Penguin Audio
format: audio, 7 hours and 47 minutes
purchase: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
audiobook: Audible | Overdrive | Publisher 
rating: 5 / 5 stars
Lithuania, June 1941: Fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school and looking forward to summer. In the dark of night there is a knock at the door and life is forever changed. Soviet secret police arrest Lina, her mother, and her younger brother, tearing their family apart. The three are hauled from their home and thrown into cattle cars, where they soon discover their destination: Siberia. Separated from her father, Lina embeds clues in her drawings and secretly passes them along, hoping they will reach her father's prison camp. In this dramatic and moving story, Lina desperately fights for her life and the lives of those around her. But will love be enough to keep her alive?

Heartbreaking. Unforgettable. Enlightening.

I read Between Shades of Gray years ago. I LOVED it. It's my favorite historical fiction. It's heartbreaking and really brings out a story many do not know about. So when I saw AudioFile had it up for free download as part of SYNC, AudioFile's free summer audiobook program for teens 13+, I HAD to grab it.

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch. -p27, paperback edition

I was honestly a bit scared for this audiobook because I LOVE this book but I've only gone around 1 audiobook. BUT I have to say that I was so glad I gave this a go. Between Shades of Gray turned out GREAT in audio. The narrator has a really powerful voice and she gives justice to Ruta Sepetys' story and to Lina's character. Several times I found myself crying not just because of the things said but also because of how the narrator delivers them. She's amazing like that.

Each time I closed my eyes, I saw the painting of The Scream in  my head, but the face was my face. -p199, paperback edition

Between Shades of Gray follows Lina, a young Lithuanian, who was forced out of her home along with her mother and her brother. Her father was gone and they have no idea where he is. Set in the horrifying time of World War II where many things done does not equal to justice and many of which are mainly for the gain of those in power. Lithuania was, at that time, under the USSR headed by Joseph Stalin and little did many know, as many people condemn Hitler, Stalin had his share of massacre and torture. This story is a testament of that.

This is a story that really brought me to look into more World War II novels. This book told me that there're more stories than what the text books we studied in high school had. Reading through Lina's experience was very eye-opening. Her narration is full of details and they really put you into her shoes. It was heartbreaking right from the beginning.

The bald man's question kept me awake in thought. Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived? -p319; paperback edition

Lina's development right from her ignorance of what's really happening at the beginning to her hatred of Stalin and his men to fighting for her dear life in the end. There's  dash of romance which is sweet and I totally ship! The development of their relationship was gradual and I'm obviously not doing justice in reviewing it but I hope that I can get the importance of this book across.

OVERALL, Between Shades of Gray is a highly recommended historical fiction read. It's an important book that carries events not very well known to many. It's really great in audio as well although there's only one narrator but as I listen, I can strongly feel her emotions. And I think that the narration of the book itself really works well for a single narrator.

let's connect!


  1. This is a story that I've only heard as an audiobook and I remember the audio being really good!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    1. I know, right? The narrator was really great! She gave me all the feels!

  2. I have heard so much about this book and Ruta Sepetys in general. I really think I'll have to finally pick this one up. I'm not usually an audiobook person, but I think you've convinced me to try this out on audio. Wonderful review!

    1. This is definitely my most highly recommended book by Ruta Sepetys. I'm not a audiobook person as well but it really hit the mark for me. Makes me hopeful to grab another audiobook. Thanks, Jordan. Happy reading!


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