Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

More Praise for Sepetys

Debut YA novelist Ruta Sepetys wows reviewers all over the country

April 8, 2011 The four starred reviews—one from every pre-publication review site in the industry—for Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray was a pretty good clue that this debut YA novel was bound to be a big hit, but now the glowing reviews are really rolling in for the Nashville novelist. In a review in today’s New York Times, Linda Sue Park called it a “superlative first novel,” noting that the very first sentence of the book “demonstrates the strength of its unembellished language” throughout.

Other reviews and notices:

~a notice in The Guardian: “Based on the author’s family memoirs, the novel offers a glimpse of relatively undocumented atrocities and shows some of the many forms that resistance can take.”

~a review on NPR: “The novel’s driving force—Lina—will make it accessible. She’s that character who holds your attention through a story that would otherwise be far too tragic to take. Because in the same way that Lina records each and every moment with her drawings, the images of her journey have lingered in my mind. And it’s those lingering images that mean I won’t soon forget.”

~a review in The Los Angeles Times: “A story of hardship as well as human triumph, “Between Shades of Gray” is an eye-opening reimagination of a very real tragedy written with grace and heart.”

~a feature in The Wall Street Journal>/cite>: “Early hype suggests the novel may resonate equally with adults and teens. The book has already sold in 23 countries, and 16 of the foreign publishers will release it as an adult novel. In Britain, Penguin U.K. will publish two versions—adult and ‘YA’—with separate covers and marketing campaigns. In the U.S., Penguin is featuring the book in both its adult and young adult catalogs, and has been promoting it with adult book clubs.”

~a review in The Wall Street Journal: “Ms. Sepetys’s prose is wonderfully uncluttered and sometimes beautiful, but she does not flinch from depicting Soviet cruelties, and that makes some passages rather harrowing. Parents of younger children may want to consider introducing ‘The Endless Steppe’ first, for readers around age 11, and then move to ‘Between Shades of Gray’ a few years later.”

~a note in The Washington Post: “Her prose is restrained and powerful, as unadorned as the landscape in which her characters struggle to survive. In this way, the occasional metaphors and descriptions shine more brightly, especially those involving a kind boy who, at various times, steals food from the guards for the sick, gives Lina a birthday gift and softly kisses her. Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both.”

~an interview in GalleyCat: “Reading stories of historical tragedy may give us an overview of events we weren’t previously familiar with. By learning from mistakes of the past, we create hope for a more just future. We meet heroes who previously were nameless and faceless. Through these stories we’re able to celebrate their courage and console their regret.”

Read Chapter 16‘s review of Between Shades of Gray here. For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16‘s News & Notes page, here.