Monday, January 03, 2022

#BookReview: Traitor: A Novel of World War II by Amanda McCrina

Synopsis: Poland, 1944. After the Soviet liberation of Lwów from Germany, the city remains a battleground between resistance fighters and insurgent armies, its loyalties torn between Poland and Ukraine. 

Seventeen-year-old Tolya Korolenko is half Ukrainian, half Polish, and he joined the Soviet Red Army to keep himself alive and fed. When he not-quite-accidentally shoots his unit's political officer in the street, he's rescued by a squad of Ukrainian freedom fighters. They might have saved him, but Tolya doesn't trust them. He especially doesn't trust Solovey, the squad's war-scarred young leader, who has plenty of secrets of his own.

Then a betrayal sends them both on the run. And in a city where loyalty comes second to self-preservation, a traitor can be an enemy or a savior—or sometimes both.


Rating: 3 Stars
My Review: Not sure why but when I saw this cover I swore this was a fantasy novel.  I don't read the jackets anymore so when I started this one and found that it was a story of WWII it was kind of a shock.  Once that shock wore off I was kind of invested in the story but after a few more chapters I just felt that this story was dry and boring. I really just started to not care about the characters or anything.  I think if you love history than this one might be for you.  But it does kind of read like a non fiction story. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—In 1944, Soviet-controlled Lwow, Poland, is not only suffering from the hardships and atrocities of World War II, but fighting for its identity. Is it a Ukrainian or Polish city? Due to ever-changing borders, the answer is not clear and those who live there are paying the price. As a child of a Ukrainian father and Polish mother, Tolya doesn't know which identity will keep him safest. After making a critical error, trying to protect a young woman on the street, Tolya kills a Russian political officer, changing everything. Now Tolya is on the run with Solovey, a Ukrainian freedom fighter, when a betrayal from within the group upends all of their plans. This action-packed historical thriller is perfect for those who are looking for a WWII book without the romance found in many YA historical novels. McCrina gives voice to a story that has not been told before. Original and exciting, the only difficulty is keeping tracking of who is on which side. Nonstop action and intrigue keeps readers on the edges of their seats and makes this a great title to hand to those looking for a meatier historical novel. VERDICT For those who want something different from their war stories. Energetic and fast-paced, this book will keep readers wanting more; be prepared to provide read-alikes like Monica Hesse's Girl in the Blue Coat and Elizabeth Wein's "Code Name Verity" series.—Maryjean Riou, Hunterdon County Lib., Flemington, NJ


“Alive with detail and vivid with insight, Traitor is an effortlessly immersive account of a shocking and little-known moment in the turbulent history of Poland and Ukraine―and ironically, a piercing and bittersweet story of unflinching loyalty. I think Tolya has left my heart a little damaged forever.” ―Elizabeth Wein, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Code Name Verity and The Enigma Game 

“The World War II-themed YA thriller you've been waiting for.” ―Entertainment Weekly

“A complex plot full of double crosses and unexpected alliances . . . Deftly explores poignant questions about the nature of loyalty in desperate circumstances.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of Wein’s Code Name Verity won’t want to miss this powerful story about the desperate actions we take in the name of loyalty and survival.” ―The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

“This riveting WWII novel starts with a literal bang. . .Crisp writing plunges readers into a brutal world rife with deception, betrayal. . .and occasional glints of compassion. . .To dig much deeper into specifics would detract from the pleasure of this novel’s hairpin twists, which begin early and continue to the final pages. An intricate depiction of a region whose complex history is likely to be unfamiliar to many in the United States.” ―Publishers Weekly 

Traitor will turn even the most casual reader into a history buff . . . It WILL grab you by the throat on page one and never let go . . . It reminds us that during wartime our heroes can become villains; that our villains can become heroes. Traitor reminds us that the most precious resource lost during wartime is our humanity. It reminds us that one side’s traitor is another side’s hero.” ―Kathleen March, Anderson's Bookshop, Downers Grove, IL 

“A raw, unapologetic story of survival that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. This book is perfect for lovers of historical fiction, especially stories centered around World War II.” ―Colleen Regan, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

Traitor is a book that both illuminates the wide breadth of stories that were shaped by the trauma of World War II, and confirms that at the heart of it we are all tied together in a single web. Questioning what defines our identity―our experiences or our heritage―and how far we are willing to go to find this answer, McCrina does not attempt to offer her readers any solutions, but with her compelling prose she plants seeds that will continue growing long after the final page.” ―Stephanie Heinz, Print: A Bookstore, Portland, ME

About the Author

Amanda McCrina was homeschooled through high school and graduated from the University of West Georgia with a BA in history and political science. For three years, she taught high school English and government at an international school in Madrid, Spain, and is now a bookseller in Franklin, Tennessee. She is the author of Traitor and the Blood Oath duology.

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