Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

Table of Contents

Important background 3

The Author 3

Sepetys on writing historical fiction 3

Before writing Between Shades of Grey 3

Her title 3

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania 3

Plot 8

Overview 8

Summary 8

Character profiles 10

Themes 13

Important background

The Author

Ruta Sepetys (Rūta Šepetys) is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee. Born in Michigan, she was raised in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. Ruta attended college to study opera but graduated with a degree in international finance. Prior to publishing her first novel, she spent twenty years in the music industry helping artists and songwriters tell stories through song.

Sepetys is an acclaimed author of historical fiction published in over fifty countries and thirty-six languages. She is considered a ‘crossover’ novelist because her books are read by teenagers and adults worldwide. Between Shades of Grey and Out of the Easy were both New York Times and international bestsellers. Her latest novel, Salt to the Sea, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the Carnegie Medal. Her books have won or been shortlisted for over forty book prizes.

The film adaptation of Between Shades of Grey, entitled Ashes in the Snow, is due for worldwide release in October 2018.

Sepetys on writing historical fiction

“Writing historical fiction is like being a detective. I enjoy uncovering secrets, hidden facts, and hidden heroes. Through characters and story, historical statistics become human and suddenly we care for people we’ve never met, we can find their country on a map, and then—the history matters.

“Through historical fiction we can give voice to those who will never have a chance to tell their story. That inspires me!”

Before writing Between Shades of Grey

“During a trip to Lithuania I visited my father’s cousin and learned that after my father fled from Lithuania, some of our extended family members were deported to Siberia. I was shocked, but learned that my family’s history was not unique.

“I took two re...

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