Starlight Reviews – Ruta Sepetys’ “Between Shades of Gray” & Sean McCollum’s “Joseph Stalin”



Starlight Reviews | Jorie's Reads by Starry Night Elf

Inspired by Kimba the Caffeinated the Book Reviewer’s Coffee Pot Reviews, Starlight Reviews groups two or more complimentary books for one concise review. While not necessarily an in-depth analysis, Starlight Reviews offers the Jorie’s Reads audience the gist of the books as well as my opinions.  

For the maiden voyage, here are Starlight Reviews for Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray and  Sean McCollum’s Joseph Stalin (A Wicked History) 

Summer is for Lovers
Between Shades of Gray 
by Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Penguin Group US
Publication date: Mar 22, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9781101476154
Source: HCPL Digital Media Catalog 

Add to Goodreads 

Lithuanian fifteen-year old Lina Vilkas lives comfortably with her academic parents and younger brother, Jonas. Her family nurtures her artistic abilities. That changes, however, on June 14, 1941  when Soviet officers (NKVD)  invade her home,  taking Lina, her mother (Elena), and Jonas as prisoners. Separated from Lina’s father, the three find themselves sentenced to the Siberian work camps. Throughout this ordeal, Lina records this harrowing journey through illustration (although not seen in the novel).

Sepetys relates her tale in clear, understandable terms and I truly imagined Lina’s world. Also, Sepetys captured a teenage girl’s view quite well. However, this book loses a pearl due to the ending not tying up some significant loose ends.

Since the story centers around rather bleak, adult subjects, I strongly suggest that parents read this book before their younger, more impressionable kids pick up this book. While not gratuitous, this novel’s backdrop consists of genocide, violence, cruelty, and degradation.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

The Ruin of A Rogue
Joseph Staling (A Wicked History Series)
by Sean McCollum
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: Sep 01, 2010
Genre: Biography
ISBN: 978-0531223550
Source: HCPL 

Add to Goodreads

Like other books in “A Wicked History Series,” this juvenile/young adult biography features:

– Opening quote by or about the featured villain/villainess
– Historical map, annotated with key locations from person’s life
– “A Wicked Web” featuring allies and enemies
– Historical photos and etchings
– Boxes with additional information
– Photo documentaries: six to eight pages of photos and captions telling the person’s life
– Timeline, glossary, additional sources
– Engaging narrative nonfiction written at a very accessible reading level (Goodreads)

Yet, this is a Twentieth Century villain. So, there’s no question as to whether Joseph Stalin was wicked. In this 128-page book, McCollum tells the life story of Joseph Stalin, from birth to death. McCollum tells of a post-Stalin event which portrays the depravity of Stalin – relating to some of those work (death) camps I read about in Between Shades of Gray. 

I found this biography accessible and easy to read. It took me longer to get through it because my dad decided to read it while I had it checked out. I liked getting the basics and not being bogged down by footnotes and details.

RR - Orange  Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

Advertisements

One thought on “Starlight Reviews – Ruta Sepetys’ “Between Shades of Gray” & Sean McCollum’s “Joseph Stalin”

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Post ~ sharing blog news and book haul ~ Jorie’s 57th Edition | Jorie's Reads by Starry Night Elf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s