Cover Image: Traitor


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Traitor is an engrossing WWII tale like I've never read before.  My own grandfather fought for Poland during WWII and having a book that shows the Polish and Ukrainian sides of the war was incredibly meaningful. I honestly learned historical events that I never knew. McCrina really told a beautiful gut-wrenching tale about a seventeen-year-old named, Toyla who is forced to fight in the war leading to a series of action-packed events creating a book I could not put down. After I finished this book, I had to double-check that I was in fact reading historical fiction, because McCrina did such an amazing job bringing this time in history to life.
Was this review helpful?
I was excited to read this book, as it promised a unique historical perspective. However, I struggled with the dual perspective and the characters overall. I was unable to connect with them, and I felt the voices were very similar, so I was unsure why the book opted for 2 perspectives instead of one. I thought the pacing of the book was excellent, and the book was well-researched. I'm sure some people will love this book, perhaps those who are more drawn to historical nonfiction, as that is what it felt like at times. It was a well written book, but it simply wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?
I was so looking forward to reading this book but, this after reading it I realized this book was not for me.  The story goes back and forth between two different young men, Tolya and Solovey during two different periods of WWII which are 1941 and 1944.  I was lost at times trying to figure out what was going on because  everyone is betraying each other.  I wish the book just focus on Tolya as adding the story of Solovey just added to the confusion.  I did not grow to feel anything for the characters in this book .The thing I did like about the book was that the author did her research which impressed me.  

Like I said this book was just not for me but, I am sure someone would enjoy it.  I wouldn't recommend to my friends to read but the decision in the end is up to you.
Was this review helpful?
What's great about this is that it's about a completely different part of the war, and one that doesn't get much page time. I think the writing is a little dry (almost narrative nonfiction like) but it's a very deep book with lots of details.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley, Farrar, Straus and Giroux , & Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review this book before it's publication date! This in no way affected my review, opinions are my own.

Traitor is a interesting mix of thriller & historical fiction, both dual POV and somewhat dual timeline (flashbacks for one of the timelines), covering a little discussed period of history in Lwów, Poland - which would become Lviv, part of the USSR and then Ukraine following many skirmishes and much bloodshed.

The characterization is absolutely stand-out in this novel and, for me, what anchored the entire plot. The plot itself is fairly dense, expecting a level of knowledge that many people (myself included) might not necessarily have. (There is a very useful historical note and pronunciation guide in the back that would be handy to reference as you read.)

This one is definitely very grim and it stays with you for long after finishing, but I'm glad I read it.

Content Warnings: From Author: Graphic wartime violence, including on-page depictions of suicide (Chapter 20) and torture (Chapters 21-23); anti-Polonism, anti-Ukrainianism, and anti-Semitism, including ethnic slurs; brief references to child abuse; alcohol and drug use; strong language. There is no explicit sexual content but there are some very brief references to rape (not depicted on-page).
Was this review helpful?
The subject matter of this book is really interesting and I was excited to see another perspective on WWII. That said, because I was so unfamiliar with the Poland and Ukraine portion of the war, it took me a while to become oriented in the book. I think this is because the writing style felt more nonfiction than fiction -- though it would be a very well done narrative nonfiction book if that had been the aim. I enjoyed parts of it, but I just don't think it was for me!
Was this review helpful?
While this entertaining enough and moves quite fast, the plot itself lacks depth and the characters don't engender any real emotional investment. The dual POV is muddled; the writing is dry and direct. Easy to finish but doesn’t make much of an impact on the reader or the genre; not for me. Meh.
Was this review helpful?
This book is getting three stars from me because:
1. It is a rarely-written about part of World War 2 history, and
2. I can tell the author did her research, and that the subject matter was important to her.
If not for those two things, I would have rated it lower. The book is aptly named, because everyone is betraying everyone, which makes it very hard to follow. The history itself is complicated, but the writing of the story did not make it that much clearer. Even if the author’s note had been in the front of the book (or if I had read it first), it still would have only lent a little background to what was going on.

I read an interview with the author, in which she stated the story was mainly Tolya’s. But there are two different time periods, and two different characters that the story follows. If the book was supposed to be mainly Tolya’s story, half of it should not have been the background of Solovey and what he experienced before meeting Tolya. Another issue is that the novel is in third person. With an already complicated narrative, it would have helped to be in Tolya’s head and perspective in order to cement the reader in the action.

The upshot is Tolya is half-Polish, half-Ukrainian, and during this time period, that sucks for him because the Polish hate the Ukrainians, the Ukrainians hate the Polish, the Germans hate the Polish, and the Soviets hate everybody. At least, that is what I was able to gather through the course of the entire novel.
Tolya lives in an area that is constantly passed back and forth between Soviet and German hands, and the Ukrainian nationalist movement and Polish resistance are at odds with each other and with whoever is in power at any given time. Confused yet?? Furthermore, the Ukrainian nationalist movement is really only fighting for itself, but partnered with the Germans at first against the Soviets.

All that to say, Tolya is stuck in this world, between all these worlds and all the hate and all the machinations.

There are also a lot of characters, which with the afore-mentioned ethnicities and political parties, made it hard to remember whose side people were on, and the betrayals didn’t help matters.

I even had a hard time keeping the backstories of Tolya and Solovey straight. If you do choose to pick up this book, I highly suggest making use of the List of Military and Paramilitary Forces and the Character List, which are in the back of the book. I might even say that taking notes would help, but who has time for that??

I really appreciate that you can feel the author’s passion for this history, but I wish it had been made more accessible to the reader. And, if we as readers had been inside Tolya’s head, I think I would have connected with the story more.
Was this review helpful?
This action packed novel does a great job of introducing readers to the complex and often untold history of the many clashing resistance groups, partisans, militaries, and civilians, all struggling for control of this region at the end of world war II. The story is told from dual perspectives and jumps between two different timelines, and while this keeps the intensity rising, it can be difficult to keep track of all the names and information between the shifting stories. 

It was interesting to see the moral ambiguity of the main characters, and I think this book would be a great conversation starter about how people with only bad options make decisions and what actions we can justify in the name of survival. This book is a good pick for readers interested in complex histories and learning about the impact of war, but between the complexity, depictions of violence, and weighty subject matter, I think more mature YA readers will get the most out of it.

Thank you to Macmillan and Netgalley for an advance copy of this Ebook.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a little hard for me to get into right from the start mainly because the names were so unfamiliar but it didn't take long for me to not want to put it down. I have a lot of kids that will love this book and I am excited to add it to the library.
Was this review helpful?
This book was not for me, so I did not finish it.  
It might be a case of "it's not you, it's me," though!  
Thanks for the opportunity to preview the title.
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to like this book. I love reading historical books but it was in dual perspective and that just confused me to no end. I couldn't keep track of who was where and if so and so was there or over there.
I just would have preferred one POV or something just a big different to make the distinction between characterws.
Was this review helpful?
Told through two different characters, Tolya and Aleksey three years apart, this story about two young men who learn that a traitor can be an enemy and a savior and sometimes both.
Was this review helpful?
This was a historical YA novel that I was greatly looking forward to. It had all the elements to make it a banger - young adult, World War 2, traitorous undertones, what more could you want? Unfortunately this fell south of flat for me - I could not make it past 30% of the book. It starts out with 17-year old Tolya, a half-Ukranian half-Polish boy caught up in the war. Events happen that give him the status of "traitor" and he and his rescuers end up on the run. The writing felt uninspired for me; the character perspective did not have a whole lot going on in terms of engagement and interest or plot/character development. But then, it SWITCHED perspectives to someone else and from a different point of view. It's hard enough to do this when there are good things happening in a book, and this just didn't work for me in this book at all. 

Perhaps this is one of those books that works best for WWII enthusiasts and those more attuned to the young adult age, rather than just any YA-interested person, but for me, this was not a great story, mainly because I felt the story and character development fell flat.
Was this review helpful?
It took me a little while to get into this book, but I found it to be engaging and worthwhile.  I think this will be a great addition to our (high school) library. We have a lot of readers who enjoy WWII historical fiction, especially those who take our Holocaust history class. 
Thanks for the galley! Our physical copy arrived in the library last week from Follett and I am excited to book talk it for our classes.
Was this review helpful?
This is one of my favorite time periods for historical fiction. As an adult, I very much enjoyed this book, but as a teacher reading for her students this book read too much like narrative nonfiction for me. There is a lot of background knowledge that could get confusing for a young adult reader. Overall, it was a darkly fascinating story, but I just think it was too confusing for my students.
Was this review helpful?
While I don't normally read YA, this book piqued my curiosity. Taking place in Poland in 1944, resistance fighters and insurgents armies serve as a backdrop for this novel. 

While this book definitely held a lot of promise, I found it confusing and disjointed. I simply couldn't follow the storyline which was unusual because it was YA. I don't think many young readers would be able to stay interested in this story. It saddens me to write a negative review for TRAITOR because I was so excited for this book. I will definitely follow McCrina, however, and am looking forward to seeing what she will write next.
Was this review helpful?
I was very excited to dive into Traitor by Amanda McCrina. I was excited to know that the author was homeschool and she wrote a book about one of my favorite subjects. This book takes place during World War II. I think this novel keeps the readers on its toes with all the twists and turns it has. The title fits the story so well. I really enjoyed that the story took place in a different part of the war than you normally read about. Our main character is Ukrainian and Polish. The story takes place between the Ukraine and Poland.

This novel is about two young men who are caught up in all of the fighting of the war. There is so much devastation and heartbreak that they witness. I found that sometimes the timelines could be a bit confusing but you find how these two men's lives are intertwined and connected. I personally feel like there is always something learn from books even if they are fiction. I am glad that I got a chance to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
Traitor is a World War II book. The story starts with Tolya, where we follow him on the night when he comes across a man harassing a woman,bthe man is a important soldier/leader (some happens) and he sneaks back onto the base. When he does he realizes that he's going to have to escape and make a run for it and we follow his journey of what it's like being on the run from a part of his past and another part of his past. There's a lot going on in this book there's a few times I did find myself confused but I did enjoy the characters and learning more about this part of the war of World War II and how it does affect you not just by family and friends dying but mentally, how that leads to other problems; like trusting people, ect. Also what Tolya has to go through being from one country when you're at war and another country that hates his country, and not knowing where he belongs. The main character is from both sides of the war and he battles with identity crisis and what it's like when you can't say that you're from one can't you're not because you're from both side of the war. I enjoy the pacing, there was no part that I was bored at or wasn't slow; every single thing that happened in this book lead or connected to something else somewhere in this book and I really enjoyed how everything was connected. Stories set in War in the past is usually ones I do enjoy I was feeling like I’m leaning and growing. Every time I do read a World War II book I feel like I learn another piece of a puzzle of what it was like back then; the trauma, the sadness and the hardship that people went through, that my ancestors went through and it's just really important of a story to tell. Overall, if you are a fan of historian or war base books, you will enjoy this and you will see another side of the story told.
Was this review helpful?
Wow this was a challenging read. The setting and topic were very difficult to undead keep clear. I very quickly lost track of who was polish, Ukrainian, and Russian; of who was part of the Resistance, the Reds, the UPA. The story was still interesting and engaging but definitely challenging. And then it just ended. I understand I had an early release of the novel, but there wasn’t any kind of resolution, but rather an abrupt ending.

Kudos to this author for taking on such a difficult part of history and recording a fictional account of what I’m sure is an integral part of Eastern Europe’s history during WWII.
Was this review helpful?