Year Published: 2011
My rating: 5/5 stars!
There's a rawness to this book that I have never felt while reading another book before. This rawness resonated in me a sense of urgency, pain, and everything in between that. That being said, Between Shades of Grey is a must read.
This book is not one full of suspense, or perfect characters, or one that always has that element that makes you want to keep reading it. In fact, sometimes I was even a little tired of reading it. At first, I thought it was because it lacked a certain spark that makes a book incredible, but I slowly learned that this book did have a spark. One that was discreet, not flashy, yet full of power and strength that made this book into what it is. And that is, a work of art.
I loved the writing style. It felt like a stream of silk flowing to the rhythm of the wind. Soft and delicate and free. It even had this sense of modesty to it. Sepetys definitely hit the right bar with the writing. And you could tell she put a lot of time with the researching for this book. I'm no World War II expert, but you could just tell that everything in the book was extremely realistic, and that Sepetys didn't just make up a bunch of things to make the book more interesting.
One thing I really appreciated about this book were the characters. They weren't the kind that were in your face, or always wanting the attention from one other. How to say this? They respected the space of their own peers, and never took more attention to themselves as needed. That is, in a literal sense. Each character had so much depth, so many layers of history just waiting to be discovered. You could see that Sepetys finely crafted each and every one of the characters using a lot of experiences and knowledge, and with a certain level of humility in mind.
My favorite characters were Mr. Stalas (the bald man) and Kretzsky. They were far from the most likable of people, but they had such depth and soul to them that I just couldn't help but feel attached to them. But at the end, I enjoyed all the characters, whether good-hearted or wrong-hearted, because they were just so masterfully created.
Between Shades of Gray sends out powerful messages of hope, grief, love and suffering. Yet it is at the same time written with a fine touch of humbleness, which I think is one of the greatest gift a reader could receive.