Parents' Guide to

Between Shades of Gray

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Harrowing, moving account of life in Stalin's labor camps.

Between Shades of Gray Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 17 parent reviews

age 12+

Excellent Book for Students!

This is an excellent novel for students in 7th grade and up. It is a poignant subject for students from a different perspective of this event. As with most novels about this time period, it is sad subject matter, but it is handled much better than most books on this topic.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (17):
Kids say (59):

This is a moving fictional story of extraordinary loss that nevertheless thrums with hope. Author Ruta Sepetys, the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, based BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY on the stories of survivors she met while researching the deportation of Lithuanians under Stalin. Sepetys uses a light touch when describing the cruelty and violence suffered by Lina and her fellow travelers: These passages are brief and to the point, which make them all the more heartbreaking.

The horrors Sepetys describes are staggering, but it's an effective and sensitive way to bring history to life. Readers will readily identify with Lina, who's abruptly ripped out of her comfortable life. It's impossible to read Between Shades of Gray and not think about how you'd cope in her situation. At the book's end, readers may want to learn more about what happened in the Baltics.

Book Details

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