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Between Shades of Gray

Narrated by: Emily Klein
Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,045 ratings)
Regular price: $32.20
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Publisher's Summary

An international best seller, a number-one New York Times best seller, and now a major motion picture! 

Ruta Sepetys's Between Shades of Gray is now the film Ashes in the Snow!

"Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both." (The Washington Post)

From New York Times and international best seller and Carnegie Medal winner Ruta Sepetys, author of Salt to the Sea, comes a story of loss and of fear - and ultimately, of survival. 

A New York Times notable book

An international best seller

A Carnegie Medal nominee 

A William C. Morris Award finalist

A Golden Kite Award winner 

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life - until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive? A moving and haunting novel perfect for fans of The Book Thief.

Praise for Between Shades of Gray:

"Superlative. A hefty emotional punch." (The New York Times Book Review)

"Heart-wrenching... an eye-opening reimagination of a very real tragedy written with grace and heart." (The Los Angeles Times)

"At once a suspenseful, drama-packed survival story, a romance, and an intricately researched work of historial fiction." (The Wall Street Journal

"Beautifully written and deeply felt... An important book that deserves the widest possible readership." (Booklist, starred review)

©2011 Ruta Sepetys (P)2011 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sunlight Through the Cracks

Lina is a 15 year old Lithunian girl who is transported with her family and other intellectuals like cattle on a train to Siberia. The beginning starts like many of the heart-wrenching novels about the atrocities of Hitler during WWII, however, veers on a diferent course of the untold horrors of what happened when Stalin's Russia marched in. Lina and family fight to stay alive in the biting cold, working on a beet farm berated by soldiers and treated like trash.

Despite the unbearable conditions, Lina finds strength and draws and documents the events and details of their condition in secret; manages to make a friend in Andress; and fights each day to save her family and persevere. This is a tale of the determination of the human spirit as told through the eyes of a young girl.

Ruta Sepetys delved into her own Lithuanian roots and discovered much of what she uses in this work of historical fiction. Truly breathtaking and frighteningly real, this novel transcends the bounds of your typical YA novel. Just when you thought you knew everything about 1941, a story like this sweeps in to shed light on another untold tale. Be sure to keep listening to the prologue and interview with the author; simply amazing.

44 of 46 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bleak but important story. Wrong narrator.

What made the experience of listening to Between Shades of Gray the most enjoyable?

I valued learning about this part of history that most of us know next to nothing about. It's an important story to be told.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Between Shades of Gray?

I do not want to give anything away, so I will just say the discovery of the large owl and the events that followed.

How could the performance have been better?

My beef with this production has everything to do with the narrator. The narrator would be perfectly fine reading a book set in a happy-go-lucky suburb of America, centered around the ups and downs of a pampered teenager. The tone is whiny and emotionally shallow. She was most definitely the wrong pick to narrate this story. She described the horrors experienced by Lithuanians and others like she was describing a failed shopping trip to the mall. Her narration seriously detracted from the impact, weight, and believability of the story. I nearly gave up on it within the first hour or two. The only thing that kept me going was my desire to learn more about this aspect of history and the fact that this is an upcoming book club selection, and I didn't have time to sit and read the book (which would have been far preferable in this case).

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book made me very sad but also reflective in a healthy way of all that we take for granted in terms of freedom, happiness, and health. The things we complain about are so trivial when you learn about the way others have and do suffer -- and still manage to love and survive with a grace.

Any additional comments?

Read the book rather than listening to the narration.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • Waunakee, WI, United States
  • 09-10-12

Great historical fiction story

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is a wonderful story about World War II that hasn't been told before. This is a story about family, friendship and love in extreme conditions. The piece that was most emotional was listening to the author state her "author's note" at the end of the book. It is obvious that this story is very close to her heart.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Read the book instead of listening

I will not purchase another audiobook with this narrator. It sounded like she was smiling while describing atrocities. I gave it a good 2 hours, can't finish. Book seems decent, wouldn't hesitate to read.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Powerful!

I hesitated to read this book because of the subject matter, but this is not the typical Holocaust story. Its the story of a Lithuanian family exile to Sibera by Stalin. The story is told by Lina a fifteen year old girl.

I connected to this emotionally it reminded me a bit of The Diary of Anne Frank. Although the story was heartbreaking it was exceptionally written. There was a nice balance between sorrow, survival and bravery. Its a very gritty story of a time in history I wasn't even aware of.

Great reader/voice very easy to understand and pleasant to listen to. Once I started I couldnt put it down. So glad I found this book, its going on my favorite list.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua
  • Eagar, AZ 85925
  • 09-14-15

Moving

Great story that teaches an important part of history that I never knew about. The recording was perfectly matched to the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue
  • St. Louis
  • 03-20-13

Moving, but painful story

Historical fiction that is sad, but well worth the listen. An engrossing story and good writing make this book very good, even though the story is serious and sad.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stacey
  • Lisbon, NY, United States
  • 06-27-12

A different perspective

I found this to be a wonderful young adult story. It brings to light a part of this time of history that most people are not aware. Everyone knew that there were bad things happening in Europe with Hitler as that tends to be the focal point of history, but there were similar things happening in other countries as well. I felt that the narrator connected with the story, I really felt she was the character and not just reading me the story.

I would recommend this one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pamela
  • Avon, CT, United States
  • 12-27-11

How did they possibly survive ?

I great book about surving the death camps during WWII. The book is told by one person who is taken from her home with her family and sent to a death camp in Siberia. It is an amazing book that tell the story of love surviving in impossible conditions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linas
  • Brentwood, TN, United States
  • 05-31-11

Riveting and Authentic

I was hooked on the character of Lina and her story from the first moment. So much of what the author wrote resonated with my own Lithuanian family’s history. In fact, the book somehow made that history more real—probably because the author colored in real historical details that I’d never asked about or even imagined.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful