Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray book review

This is going to be short. My entire review could just be “ehh”, but that’s not very entertaining. Or informative.

Basically Soviets take over Lithuania and this girl and her little brother and her mom get shoved into a train and taken to Siberia. They’re forced to do lots of manual labor and it’s freezing and they’re starving and things over all just suck. Oh and she’s good at drawing. The end.

See, THIS is why I don’t read books that get a lot of hype. Because EVERY REVIEW I SEE goes on and on about how a book is so fantastic, and then I read it and it’s so not even close to fantastic. I read the book quickly, in one afternoon. The situation of the characters sucked, but it didn’t really move me or make me feel all the emotions that other reviewers apparently felt. Honestly, I’ve read much better books about fictional characters suffering during World War 2.Β Between Shades of GrayΒ was kind of boring, with very little plot,Β and I was happy that it was over. SNORE.

I’ve had this book on my shelf for at least a year now, so at least now I can get rid of it without feeling guilty for not reading it.

Sarah Says: 1.5 stars



  1. Hmm … I bought this one last year and still haven’t read it. I’m interested to see what I think about it! I do like historical-type novels and this one HAS been getting good reviews. I guess we’ll wait and see. That’s too bad you didn’t like it! There are definitely some hype books that I’ve read and absolutely hated, so you’re not alone!

    Thanks for sharing, Sarah!


    1. For me, there was hardly anything historical about this novel… there were a few names and dates mentioned, but you didn’t learn much about any of it. Maybe it’s because I’ve read really good adult historical fiction novels, but I just wasn’t impressed overall.


  2. Aw, sounds like a good topic, too bad. I totally understand about the hype-disappointment. I always try to wait a bit (or a long :p) time before touching the “hype”-books.


    1. I know I’m definitely in the minority on this one. I feel like maybe the reason it got so much praise when it came out is because it’s a YA book, and I guess maybe it’s more touching if you only read a lot of YA anyways. I’m not sure, but I hope you read it so I can see if you agree with me or not! πŸ™‚


  3. I was definitely one of the ones who loved it, but maybe it was because I had very little hype before I read it. I don’t know what it was that I found so amazing? I think it was quietly good — I felt the cold and the setting, it felt very real, and the lingering questions (would anyone die? would things get worse? when would they go home?) kept me listening (I did read the audio book). However, I can see why an avid historical fiction reader would want a little more out of a novel!


    1. I think I was just kind of expecting more drama or action? I had those lingering questions too, but I was kind of annoyed that some of them weren’t answered by the end.


      Like the whole point of the book is that she draws to help her dad find her, but we never find out if he does. That was irritating.


  4. This is pretty much how I felt about The Book Thief.

    I still may read this one, as I’ve seen other bloggers recommend it but… hm, we’ll see.

    Mainly I just feel bad for this book, because I bet she has a lot of people mistake her book for 50 Shades of Grey. Probably a lot of awkward cocktail party conversations.


    1. I was also disappointed by The Book Thief, but I think that one was MUCH better than this in terms of living up to the hype. And just as a book in general.

      I told my honeyman I was reading this book and he gave me the weirdest look – and then I explained that it wasn’t 50 Shades of Grey. LOL.


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