January Book Review: The Lifeboat Clique and Between Shades of Grey

By Ellie White

Disclaimer: The following review may contain some spoilers revolving around the plot and background. This reviews are my own opinion, yours may differ.

In these reviews I will rate the books in a starring system.

5/5 Stars: This book will land in my all-time favorite book list and you should stop what you are doing and read it, no matter what.

4/5 Stars: You should try to read it at some point in your free time.

3/5 Stars: If you are bored or going on a long trip, it might be fun to read.

2/5 Stars: I would not really bother unless you enjoy the author.

1/5 Stars: The book would make a better coaster for your Coke, than a book.

0/5 Stars: Congrats! You now have kindling! (just kidding, please do not burn books; just do not waste your money or your time with this one)!

This January, I read the Lifeboat Clique. The Lifeboat Clique, by Kathy Parks, is a dark little novel about four popular kids and one outcast stranded on open ocean in a lifeboat, and the cliques we all have. The book centers on social pariah Denver Renyolds, and her plight as she struggles to survive the ocean, lack of food and water, and mean girls.

The Lifeboat Clique, by Kathy Parks, is a fun, but dark little novel about survival, friendship, and humanity. This book has quite a bit of dark humor, and despite its grim tone, I found myself laughing aloud at some parts. The book follows Denver Reynolds, a high school junior pariah, and her quest of survival on the open ocean with four of the most popular kids in school. This book is a bit of a mix of Mean Girls and Life of Pi, and they work surprisingly well together. This book has something for everyone, with a bit of romance, some mystery, humor, horror, and even a great message about humanity. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of survival stories and humor; however, this book can get a little realistic at points. If you cannot handle death and the reality of high school children from LA surviving in the open ocean, I would choose something else. Otherwise a real page-turner of a book, rated 4/5 stars.

This January, I read Between Shades of Grey. Between Shades of Grey, by Ruta Sepetys, is a book about the good and bad of humanity and all the shades of grey in-between. The book centers on a young, Lithuanian girl, named Lina, and her family as they struggle through a labor camp in 1941.

Between Shades of Grey, by Ruta Sepetys, tells the untold story of the little countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia that Russia invaded and took over shortly before World II started. During the war, the communist regime deported and imprisoned many of the natives of these countries, because they were deemed to not have a place in the communist regime. It is estimated that Stalin killed nearly 20 million of these people and this remained largely forgotten or even ignored by the rest of the world. This novel follows the story of Lina, a young Lithuania, and her family as they struggle through a labor camp and many other horrors. This book is brutally honest and leaves nothing out of what these people went through. Much like the title of the book suggests there are many shades of grey. There really are no good or bad characters. It is an interesting look at humanity, especially since I did not know anything about this side of the war, which upset me. It is hard to believe that history seems to have forgotten these people. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys learning about history, especially World War II, and to those who enjoy looking at humanity from a different angle. If you do not like graphic descriptions of violence, though, it might not be for you. This book was a learning experience and I really enjoyed this book teaching me about these people and even about Russia’s Communism. I would rate this a 4.5/5 stars.

Both the Lifeboat Clique and Between Shades of Grey are available in the McNicholas Library. Do you have a book that you would like me to review? Please suggest it in the comments or send me an email via Ellinore.white@mcnhs.org.

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