Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys)

Sometimes I strike upon a book that simply ruins me forever, and I’ve noticed historical fiction is the absolute worst. There are times when I feel as though my heart cannot hold the discovery of yet another season of atrocities committed by humans against one another.

Between Shades of Gray is that book of the year for me, I think.

Telling the horrific tale of Josef Stalin’s deportation and enslavement of millions of people from the Baltic states in the 1940s, Ruta Sepetys speaks out on behalf of her ancestors and others affected by the forgotten Holocaust. Told from 15-year-old Lina’s point of view, we experience the kidnapping, dehumanization, and murder of thousands of individuals from Lithuania. Through her eyes we witness the desperation that drives people to the unthinkable, all in the name of survival.

As difficult as it is to read works such as this, I do believe it incredibly important to press on…for the only thing worse than having knowledge of these horrible events in world history? That would be choosing to not know, and for shame upon us all if we ever get to that.