This is a summary based on my understanding of the novel. Please also note that this summary contains spoilers. You may want to read the entire book first before proceeding - click this link to purchase via amazon.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta E. Sepetys – Novel Summary
Lina Vilkas was taken away by the NKVDS with her mother Elena and brother, Jonas. They got on a train that served as their home for days. It was terrible. People died, there wasn’t any food. They urinate on a hole somewhere in the train. They were on that train for days and Lina and Jonas had the chance to find their father, who was one of the prisoners. He was then sent to prison ad Lina was sent to a beets farm to work. They stayed there for months. Lina and Elena dug holes, planted beets. Jonas made shoes. Andrius cut woods.
Lina saw Andrius‘ situation. He wasn’t like the rest of them who are deported. His mother was clean and they are not hungry. Lina thought they were traitors or spies, it just turns out that his mother was sleeping with an official.
Lina’s talent to draw was discovered, she was asked to draw twice. She and Andrius fell in love until it was time for them to split up again because the NKVDS produced a new list of people who will be transferred. Lina, Elena and Jonas were transferred to an island and they lived on mud huts even when there is a snowstorm. Hundreds died. On that island Lina discovered that the reason they were transferred was because of Lina’s uncle escaped. Her uncle was an accessory to a crime so his entire family was assumed criminals. Lina also discovered that her father died in prison, he was shot.
Weeks later, Elena died and the others too (because of sickness). Jonas and Lina buried her. The very few people who left started getting sick. In their group, only Mrs. Rimas and Lina didn’t get sick , and the rude bald man, Mr. Stalas. Jonas was sick too, his sickness came back, the one he had back in the beets farm where he nearly died. They have no supplies and sickness worsened. Then one day, a doctor knocked on their hut and saved them all. The doctor was tasked to simply inspect and report that everything’s fine, but he couldn’t do that, not when he witnessed how sick the people were.
In the epilogue, Lina and Andrius got married. Lina and Jonas were freed, after being prisoners for 12 years. This is based on a true story – Lina’s drawings and letters were discovered by a construction worker.
The End of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta E. Sepetys.