Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?
My journal page…
It’s hard to review a book like this because it’s so raw. For me to give any review other than 5 stars would be crazy! This is someone’s story. This is Lina’s story. She is a brave courageous, determined, resourceful survivor.
Her awful, inhumane treatment by Stalin’s tyrannical mob was some of the hardest things to read about. She suffered twelve years of terror, traveled the span of 6,500 miles and dumped on a freezing cold farm in Siberia. She watched her father being ripped away, her mother suffer beyond belief and all the while it was her number one goal to find ways to get messages through her art, to her father and keep her family alive.
It is beyond my comprehension that people suffered the way they did. Even further from my realm of understanding is how others imposed this horrific treatment on fellow human beings with such ease.
I knew that the late 1930’s and 1940’s were awful times in our world. Hitler reigned terror down on Jews and subjected them to evil and death. What I didn’t know as much about is the reign of terror that Stalin was reigning down on deportees from Lithuania. In the same monster, demon like way as Hitler, Stalin gathered men, women and children and forced them to live like animals. It disgusts me beyond belief.
After reading stories like this, the saying about learning history or history will be doomed to repeat itself, becomes so much more ingrained in my head.
I’m so grateful that Ruta Sepetys was brave enough to tell her story!
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author and Winner of the Carnegie Medal
Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan in a family of artists, readers, and music lovers. The daughter of a refugee, Ruta is drawn to underrepresented stories of strength through struggle and hopes to give voice to those who weren’t able to tell their story. Her award-winning historical novels are published in over fifty countries and have received over forty literary prizes.