Sunday, December 23, 2012

Audio Review: Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Septys

We received several new audio book titles in our young adult section at our library and I was so torn between which one to pick first. I settled on Between Shades of Gray because of the historical mood I was in.

At first I did not know if I would get into it. I wondered if it would be too sad, if the narrator's voice would be too whiny, etc. Let's just say I  haven't been too keen on some other female narrated YA titles.

But this particular narrator was spot on. She narrated voices for characters age six to sixty and had the right emotion for each.

Here's a brief description from Goodreads:
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.

Lina's story was so powerful and painful to listen to. At times it was incredibly graphic and sad and  I wonder about the young adult audience it was geared for. With any depiction of real life horrific moments in history, it's going to feel like a jagged pill to swallow, young or old, I guess. I am glad I chose this over the others. I think fans of The Book Thief would enjoy this. 

I find it comical that after I read this I had an older woman customer come up to me at my bookstore and ask if that was the Shades of Gray book everyone is talking about. I couldn't help exclaim "Good God NO!  Not at all. Are you kidding me?! That would NOT be in the teen section." She walked away thinking I was tad crazy. 

Well, if she had stuck around, I would have recommended it to her. However, i think she really wanted that other "Shades of Gray book everyone is talking about" :)

Author Website: Ruta Sepetys
Purchase: Indie Bound

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Melissa said...

Love your reaction to the customer! I probably would have said the same thing.

Mystica said...

Thanks for the post and have a very Merry Christmas.

Tales of Whimsy said...

I don't think my heart could take it but I enjoyed your review and it sounds fantastic.

Gina said...

LOL to the customer interaction! ^_^ I remember that this book (pb form) came out the SAME DAY as one of the FIFTY SHADES books and I was like "Okay team, if a teen comes in asking for the 50 shades book, they mean THIS ONE not THAT ONE". *-* Luckily we had no mishaps. Still have this one on my wish list and rightfully so it sounds. If you're looking for another nod to the historical era of this book in a YA voice, check out ANNEXED (can't recall if you've read it before or not...oops!) ^_^

Marie Cloutier said...

I really need to get around to reading this. Thanks for the reminder. I know what you mean about the confusion factor; it's happened to me at the bookstore too!