Author(s): Ruta Sepetys
Lina is a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. She's just like any other girl. Until one night in 1941 when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother are taken slowly north to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the harshest of conditions. Stalin has deported them and is claiming their home as his own. Suffering abuse both physical and emotional, Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at a great personal risk - documenting events by drawing. She imbeds clues in her art of their location and secretly passes them along, attempting to contact her father, hoping these drawings will eventually make their way to his prison camp. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years, covering 6,500 miles. Many lives were lost, but it was their incredible strength, love and hope that allowed Lina and her brother to endure and ultimately survive.