Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 6 - 8Grades 1 - 4n/a3.664750
“Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.” --The Washington Post

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.


“A superlative first novel. A hefty emotional punch.”--The New York Times Book Review

“A brilliant story of love and survival.”--Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Speak and Wintergirls

* “Beautifully written and deeply felt…an important book that deserves the widest possible readership.”--Booklist, Starred Review

A New York Times Bestseller
An International Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2011
A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2011
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011
The iTunes 2011 Rewind Best Teen Novel
The #1 Book on the Spring 2011 IndieNext List
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2011
A Booklist Best Book of 2011
A Kirkus Best Book of 2011
2012 IRA Children’s and Young Adults Book Award for Young Adult Fiction
2012 Indies Choice Young Adult Book of the Year
A Carnegie Medal Finalist
A William C. Morris Finalist
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published on March 22, 2011 by Philomel Books
ISBN-10: 0399254129
ISBN-13: 9780399254123
35 Book Reviews
Add a Rating
  • HarryPotterThursday, October 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm
    Good book, however, how can the book be at level 3.6? I doubt fourth and third graders would be able to decipher some of the words in the book.
    • fartiepartie
      fartiepartieFriday, July 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm55 stars
      I recommend this book for rising 6th and 7th graders, because it is about a big change in a 15 year old girls life. It is about the soviets war, I really recommend it!
      • my225
        my225Friday, September 23, 2016 at 7:48 am55 stars
        I loved this book it was amazing and hard to put down.It is about a girl named Lina,her mother, and brother they have been taken from their home and have been pushed into a truck and taken far away. To add to that they don't have a clue as to where their father is. Read this amazing story to find out their struggles.
        • foodie11
          foodie11Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 5:12 am55 stars
          This is a very good serious book to read about a girl taken from her home. It is very intresting and every chapter ends in a cliffhanger.
          • genius1326
            genius1326Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm55 stars
            It was the period when Hitler was killing Jews by the thousands, and was immensely noticed, but another equally tragic story was never noticed until it was too late. Stalin was killing Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians, and Lina, part of an unwary and happy family, is Lithuanians. When Soviet troops come and ships them off to kill them, Lina, her brother and mother are seperated from her father. In the tragic story, Lina and her family fights for survival, with death looking them in the eyes.
            • fmaglalang
              fmaglalangWednesday, March 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm55 stars
              I really liked that even though lina and andrius did not like each other, they still got married at the end. this is an amazing book and I think that everybody should read it. most people these days are only thinking about crushes, dates and whatever. I liked this book very much. EVERYBODY WHO READS THIS COMMENT.......... PLAESE TAKE TIME TO READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
              • fmaglalang
                fmaglalangWednesday, March 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm55 stars
                this was one of the best and greatest books I have ever read in my life. it makes you realize to appreciate what you have before it is already gone. I cried when I was reading this book. shout out everybody....... because every body deserves to read this amazing, beautiful, heart breaking book.
                • royalreader143
                  Mrs. JamesWednesday, May 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm44 stars
                  Heartbreaking story of loss coupled with the determination to stay alive
                  • afangirlSunday, December 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm
                    I loved this book. Finished it in three school nights. Although I cried the entire book I would read it again in a heart beat. GO READ! :)
                    • ivy95
                      ivy95Friday, October 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm55 stars
                      Between Shades of Gray is a wonderful book. Ruta Sepetys did an awesome job. It was the perspective of a teenage girls view of communism. Great job. (:

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