Between Shades of Grey is about a Lithuanian family that is forcibly removed from their home during World War II. I had never read anything about the Eastern European / Soviet dynamics during the war. Sixteen year old Lina is deported to Siberia along with her mother and her brother. The group is kept in circumstances that are synonymous with the concentration camps in Western Europe. Many starve or are worked to death. As Lina’s mother fights to keep what remains of her family alive and together, Lina, an artist, works to document the personalities that they meet and the events that befall them.
The book certainly warrants it’s classification in the young adult genre. The plot moves very quickly, making it quite possible to read all 350-something pages in one sitting. But, the complexity of the story is low. The language is not difficult, which plays into the speed at which the plot continues. I think the ending is the other aspect that buckets this in the young adult genre. To speak in terms of the classic structure of literature, the book’s “falling action” and “dénouement” occur in about five pages. It simply wraps up much too quickly and much too neatly, leaving me looking sometwhat like this: