A Million Shades of Gray Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Y'Tin is brave.
No one in his village denies that. And while his mother may wish that he'd spend more time on schoolwork than on training his elephant, she knows that it takes a great deal of courage and calm to handle elephants the way that Y'Tin does. He is the best handler in the village - and at 13 years old, the youngest. Maybe he'll even open up his own school someday to teach other Dega how to train wild elephants! That was the plan, anyway - back before the American troops pulled out of the Vietnam War, back before Y'Tin's village was attacked by North Vietnamese forces, back before they had to start digging a massive, menacing pit, back before Y'Tin watched his life change in a million terrible ways.
Now, his bravery is truly put to the test: He can stay in his village, held captive by the North Vietnamese, or he can risk his life (and save his elephant's) by fleeing into the jungle.Newbery Medal-winning author Cynthia Kadohata brings us close to a world few people know about -- but will never forget. Heartbreaking yet full of hope, Y'Tin's story is one of lasting friendships, desperate choices, and all that we lose when we are forced to change.
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 42 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 05, 2010|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #125,119 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#67 in Teen & Young Adult Asian Historical Fiction
#69 in Military & Wars Historical Fiction for Children
#254 in Teen & Young Adult Military Historical Fiction
Top reviews from the United States
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When US forces withdraw and South Vietnamese forces are overrun, Y’tin escapes into the jungle with a couple of other boys and their elephants. Almost immediately a fault line freezes out Y’tin. The three boys had been close friends in the village, but under the stress of jungle life, the other two resent that Y’tin’s father worked for US Special Forces and that Y’tin, himself, had once gone on mission with the Americans. They believe that this is what has brought the war to their village. On the other hand, they recognize that Y’tin is more gifted in jungle craft than they, especially tracking, because of the education of his father.
Because of these skills, Y’tin is chosen to go back on a mission to reconnoiter their village, and he finds it’s been bombed out and nobody is to be seen. This leaves it unclear how many of the villagers escaped versus being executed by the North Vietnamese forces—but he does know many were killed. [Incidentally, the title comes from Y’tin’s view of the jungle after seeing the remnants of his village—i.e. instead of being a million shades of green, all he can see is gray.]
Besides telling the story of Y’tin’s adventures in surviving the war, the novel pivots on Y’tin’s role as a mahout—and ultimately as a protector of the elephants. Y’tin finds himself in a position in which his dream is no longer tenable, and he must decide whether take a heroic risk to save the elephants or hold on to his dream in the face of unfavorable odds.
The book is only a little over 200 pages arranged into 14 chapters, and—as would be expected of YA fiction—is readable. The book’s strength is in building a lead character who’s interesting by virtue of his mix of worldly naiveté and jungle [local] wisdom and giving him intense challenges and dilemmas. Weakness? The strict chronological progression results in a slow start in which the author spends a chapter establishing that the lead character loves elephants without anything interesting happening. However, if one gives the book til the second chapter, things start happening.
I’d recommend this book for readers of fiction, and particularly those interested in YA fiction and stories of war.