Chapter 16
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Many Shades of Success

Ruta Sepetys is still riding a wave of popularity with her young-adult novel, Between Shades of Gray

August 10, 2012 Nashville novelist Ruta Sepetys has been in the literary news since the pre-publication reviews started pouring in last year for her young-adult novel, Between Shades of Gray. With the book’s paperback release, this momentum shows no signs of slowing. The novel has been consistently near the top of the USA Today bestseller list this summer and also won the YA Indie Choice Award from the Booksellers Association of America. The prize was announced at BookExpo America, the industry’s annual trade show. Joking about the similarity of her novel’s title to a certain erotic bestseller, Sepetys thanked the ABA for choosing “totalitarianism over titillation.”.

The Atlantic also gave high marks to Sepetys’s novel recently, citing it in a list of “The Best Girl-Power Books.” Sepetys is even getting press for her yet-to-be-published follow up to Between Shades of Gray: Entertainment Weekly recently offered a sneak peak at the cover of this new novel, Out of the Easy, which is also set in the aftermath of World War II, though this time on the home front. “I wanted to capture that celebrated yet painful time period in a novel,” she told EW. “Following World War II, the U.S. experienced unparalleled prosperity. But ‘the American dream’ for some became the quiet nightmare for others and what looked perfect on the outside was sometimes quietly rotting on the inside.” Read the rest of the interview here.

Nashville’s City Paper also caught up with Sepetys in a recent interview. While discussing the success of her “blockbuster debut,” Sepetys also talked about her own personal journey as she learned more and more about her family’s tragic past in Soviet-era Europe: “Here I am in my father’s cousin’s living room, realizing that all the freedoms that I have as an American, in a way, came at the expense of these people. And I had no idea. The whole thing started with the desire to tell my family’s story. And maybe, in a way, to give back. To apologize. I feel ashamed that this affected my extended family and I was completely ignorant to this part of history.”

Read the rest of the interview with The City Paper here.