This book follows the life of Lena’s family and other families when they were hauled away by the Soviet secret police. They are thrown into a cattle car en route to Siberia. Lina and her family are separated from her father and in order to reach his prison camp, she passes along clues in the form of drawings. But will that be enough to be reunited again?
“Sure, we were safe. Safe in the arms of hell.”
I don’t have a lot to say about this book because I just can’t. This book left me speechless. It was so fascinating how Ruta Sepetys wrote a tragic story to let us know the truth about the crimes of Stalin. I don’t even know how those people survived such terrible things, but as Ruta said, they had love and they survived through love. Not just love in a romantic way, it was love for a lot of things, especially their families.
I was hooked with the story since the first chapter. Ruta’s writing is beautiful, and even though this isn’t a love story (for me), it was beautiful in its own way. I liked how those people did almost the impossible to survive, to feed their children, to find their lost ones. There was sorrow, pain, suffering, loss, love but most important, there was hope. Every single death touched my heart, and when I read this book I had to hold my tears because if I started crying, I wouldn’t stop.
“Evil will rule until good men or women choose to act.”
As soon as I finished this I didn’t know what to do. You know, after reading such a tragic story is very hard to forget about it, to just pretend you didn’t read that ugly side of history… of humanity. History teachers should give this book to their students because I think is extremely important to know this side of the story… to know the truth. I know this is a story of fictional characters, but what makes it important is that this story reflects the true story that took the lives of 20 millions of innocent people, and that’s a LOT of people. I’m pretty sure most of us didn’t know this side of the story, and also we think our history classes failed us, but know you can educate yourself thanks to Ruta Sepetys.
I don’t encourage people to read this book because it is pretty or happy, because it isn’t. I encourage people because this story is important. It’s not always easy to write such a serious topic for young adults but I think Ruta did it and captured it perfectly.