Between Shades of Gray struck me somewhat as a YA version of The Bronze Horseman, at least in some ways (although from a non-Soviet point of view). Despite the topic being quite bleak, the main character of Lina is not, nor is her family. I thought it was well written and it was easy to become attached to the characters. I appreciate the author trying to bring attention to this aspect of history as it is not well known. I've always been drawn to this area of the globe, Russia and the Baltic included, and I remember vividly when the Baltic states regained their sovereignty despite my young age and was strangely pleased for a child who grew up in Pennsylvania! But I think anyone should rejoice, even twenty years later, once you learn of the hardships this area endured.
I truly enjoyed the novel and would love to see an adult version of Lina's life written by the author. Perhaps her years as an adult in the work camps or after. I felt like something was missing at the end of the story, which is why I did not round the story to 5 stars. I believe the author should have at the very least included how Lina managed to meet up with Andrius once again, this was definitely a piece of the puzzle which was missing. If one scene leaves you near tears, it will be the one when Lina and Andrius part ways as it is beautifully written. Why not a reunion scene too?
Regardless, the story is wonderful and although it is YA, I think adults may enjoy it more.