Several persons at Printz love this book. I myself quite liked it.
It tells the story of Lina Vilkas, a Lithuanian teenager captured by the NKVD (Soviet secret police) during World War II. She and her mother and younger brother are treated as below scum, forced into swine boxcars and shipped across Europe and Asia into the Arctic Circle for unknown "crimes."
While this book was wonderfully written and had an interesting - if not altogether likable - protagonist, it was oddly similar to Elie Wiesel's memoir Night. Night dealt with Nazis, while Between Shades of Gray pertained to communism, but it was very similar in build. Then again, I'm sure much of the same thing actually happened...but this is historical fiction, whilst Wiesel's book is an autobiography. Both were disturbingly realistic, but this one, while a grand book in its own right, did not bring much to the table that was entirely new. I still really liked it, however - do not get me wrong there.
Final grade: B