Between Shades of Gray (Audio)

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Narrator: Emily Klein
Pub: 2011; Penguin Audio
Pages: 344
Audio Length: 7 hours; 47 minutes
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Fiction

I obviously understand why this book made such noise in the literary community, both young adult and not.

While listening to Between Shades of Gray I kept thinking, man where have I heard something so familiar? Of course it's pretty obvious.  Young Lina's story of being a girl in the midst of war mirrors all of the stories that we heard about the Jews in Nazi Germany.

The difference here?  Lina wasn't Jewish.  Or German.  She was Lithuanian and it wasn't Hitler who ordered her family to be taken from their homes to die in work camps, but Stalin.

I have a colleague at work who is Russian.  Well, she's not exactly Russian, only kinda.  What I mean by this is, her country (Ukraine) was taken by Russia and so she identifies with both.  She's the one who recommended this book to me.  Ignorantly, I told her that I had long since reached my fill of World War II books (don't judge, my grandma lived in East Germany during the war so I grew up hearing her first hand experiences).

I listened to this book over the summer and IMMEDIATELY upon returning to work apologized to her about my cavalier position when she first said I should read it.  She was surprised and it obviously didn't keep HER up at night like it did me.

But folks...this book is Important.  Because it tells the story that we don't really spend time listening to, and that's about Stalin and his malicious reign over Russia and how so many people lost their homes because they thought differently.

Because of THAT this book is Important.  My mouth was agape most of the time.

As far as the audio goes....the narration was superb.  The accents were believable (possibly real?) but didn't make me twitch in the ears trying to figure out what was being said. 


  1. I'm wondering now if my library has this on audio. I really want to read this book. I've wanted to read it for ages. I got it from my library when it first came out, and tried to read it, and in those first chapters, I was already so distressed that I knew I couldn't handle the whole book, emotionally, at that time. Maybe now. Maybe if I got it on audio.

  2. I already know I want to read this but want to thank you for reinforcing.

  3. I agree that this is an important book. It blew me away, and it really shows a different side of WWII.

  4. I've heard amazing things about this book and it is on my incredibly long TBR list. THe other thing that I heard about this book was that people were mixing it up with the Fifty Shades of Gray books (the S&M ones) and yet some people read this and found an amazing story but not quite the one they expected!

  5. Things that I learned about this book from your review (that I didn't already know): Stalin, WWII, Young Adult, Awesome audio. I'm sold.

    Whenever we get into WWII discussions (hub and I), he reminds me that Stalin was a TERROR.


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