Day 4: One of the best parts about book blogging is the exposure to books and authors you might never have heard of before. Pimp the book you think needs more recognition on this day.
I didn’t have to think about this much at all. I’ve picked a book I still suggest to people straight away, and one that I frequently think about even though I read it over a year ago – Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
I posted about Between Shades of Gray on my Tumblr over a year and a half ago. I’m not sure how I first discovered it, but I remember the cover stood out to me straight away (probably because it’s blue!) and then the blurb instantly captured my imagination. It’s such a powerful statement, and I felt a chill run down my spine. Even then, I had to tell other people about it.
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.
Luckily for me, shortly afterwards, I was offered it for review. I remember not wanting to get off the tube (i.e. the train), even though I was going to the London Book Fair for the first time, because I just wanted to keep reading. I, annoyingly, managed to damage it on the way home because I didn’t put the cap on my water bottle on properly and it got soaked! Ironically, it’s probably the reason I loaned it to my family – if it had been in pristine condition I’d have wanted to keep it that way!
Check out the hauntingly beautiful, but deeply saddening trailer below:
Between Shades of Gray needs more recognition because it’s one of the most important books I’ve ever read.
Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother’s was worth a pocket watch.
Find out more about BBAW here.