Monday, March 28, 2011


If you've not heard of Ruta Sepetys's debut, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, get ready.

Because that's all I'm talking about this week.

Seriously, you guys--this book is (a) amazing and (b) the kind of book that needs to be written, in the same way that Markus Zusak's book THE BOOK THIEF was needed.

Which should probably give you an indication of what the book's about. Instead of just giving you the jacket flap description, I want to do something a little different. This is the opening of a review from the LA Times about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY:

In young adult books about World War II, the Holocaust dominates. But there are lesser-known atrocities that also took place, including during the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states. The Soviets not only displaced countless Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians, leaving them to die, but wiped those countries from the map for much of the last century.

It's this story that is told in "Between Shades of Gray," the heart-wrenching debut novel from Ruta Sepetys. Sepetys is the granddaughter of a Lithuanian military officer who himself escaped to a refugee camp during World War II. Other members of her extended family weren't so lucky. They were deported to Siberia, forced into hard labor or imprisoned, much like the fictional characters here.

Booklist called BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY "An important book that deserves the widest possible readership." I couldn't agree more. You better believe that once I get my copy back from the Bookanistas, I'm going to shove it into my teacher friend's hands (I'm looking at you, Laura!).

If you're not convinced that you need to read this novel yet, stick around. This week, Ruta was kind enough to tell me all about her book, her writing process, her research, and even how the astounding video about the book's origins was made.

Not only that, but Ruta has very graciously provided one lucky blog reader with a wonderful prize!

Between Shades of Gray Prize Pack:
Signed bookplate
Music download card

All this week, I'll be posting about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. Comment on a post, you get an entry for the random drawing. Five posts = five chances to comment and win. So come back every day this week for another chance to comment and win! 

Also: sorry, but this contest is US only! However, next week and the week after I'll be hosting international contests with multiple prizes, so don't give up hope on me! Please also make sure to include your email address if you haven't got it in your profile.

Also, I thought it might be easier if I suggested some topics for comments--you don't have to comment on the following questions to enter (a simple "please enter me!" is fine), I just thought it might be fun to get a real discussion going.

Question 1: BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY deals with World War II history. What is your favorite period of history to learn more or read more about?

Question 2: This particular aspect of history is often (sadly) forgotten. What is a period or event in history--or that's going on right now--that you feel deserves more attention from the world?
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