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It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
Yes it still is a war story but it's more than that. It tells you about the war and all the suffering but it tells you a wonderful story about survival and growing up. The Soviet Union is something that I, like I believe most of your, have heard of in high-school. But it was mostly about Russia and the Baltic states were mostly just that - little countries and mostly nothing more. I really had no idea about the suffering they went through during the Second World War and reading about it broke something inside of me. We get to met Lina and her family. After the war started many of the people were taken because they were suspicious and their families had to suffer as well. Lina's family was one of them. Her father was a professor at the university and one day she, her mother and brother were taken. Her father wasn't with them. From that point on starts the story about the survival in the Russian camps and the hell called winter in Siberia. With all that it's also a story about Lina's growing up, love, family and most of all hope. Hope was the only thing that could get you through that.
I was very young when I had read Anne Frank's story and it broke me. Now I'm let's say older and supposedly wiser and then I should know about the real side of the war and all the sad and mostly terrifying stories. But the truth is nothing can prepare you for this.
At the end of the book the author says that this was not her stories as mostly the things from the book are based on the true stories. Only there is a catch - it's not enough just to tell the story you need to be the right person to put the feeling in the right places. You Ruta Sepetys did just that and more than that. Thank you and your fan-base has got a new member.
Rating: 5 shiny stars.
PS. If there is one bad thing about this book it's that it shares name with the one that shall not be named.
Until the next time,