Traitor: A Novel of World War II

Farrar. Aug. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780374313524.
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.

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