My Real Name Is Hanna
Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant debut novel is a powerful coming-of-age story that will resonate with fans of The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray.Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbor dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumored to harbor evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive. Sparse, resonant, and lyrical, weaving in tales of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, My Real Name Is Hanna celebrates the sustaining bonds of family, the beauty of a helping hand, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

My Real Name Is Hanna Details

TitleMy Real Name Is Hanna
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 15th, 2018
PublisherMandel Vilar Press
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, World War II, Holocaust, War, Fiction

My Real Name Is Hanna Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    “Abram Slivka (my Papa) Eva Slivka (my Mama)Hanna Slivka (14 years old, loves to read)Leeba Slivka (12 years old, loves to sew)Symon Slivka (10 years old, a really good bit who Loves his dog) Ovid (our dog)Steed (our horse)We all lived in this house until October 12, 1942. If you find this ,say these names out loud, please, and bury this paper in the yard.” Maybe a request for some semblance of a proper burial. Perhaps a plea for remembrance. These are the words that Hanna buries in a tin in the “Abram Slivka (my Papa) Eva Slivka (my Mama)Hanna Slivka (14 years old, loves to read)Leeba Slivka (12 years old, loves to sew)Symon Slivka (10 years old, a really good bit who Loves his dog) Ovid (our dog)Steed (our horse)We all lived in this house until October 12, 1942. If you find this ,say these names out loud, please, and bury this paper in the yard.” Maybe a request for some semblance of a proper burial. Perhaps a plea for remembrance. These are the words that Hanna buries in a tin in the Slivka family’s yard before they are forced to flee their home, their quiet, happy existence, as the Nazis move in to make the town free of Jews. This becomes a journey for survival from their life in the shtetele, this small town, their Polish and Jewish roots, in the Ukraine, to the deep of the forest and eventually to the darkness of a cave finding refuge from the darkest hearts of the Nazis. We don’t see much of the horrific things that happened to the Jews as they are rounded up and sent to camps, but we know of course , and the characters find out as the novel moves forward. They learn that railway cars take away Jews and then the Nazis don’t take them away anymore. They just shoot them as they try to escape through the forest. We do see first hand the hunger and hardship that the Slivka family, their extended family and neighbors endure. There was no food at times. They were starving until one of the men or older boys could safely leave to scrounge what they could. This is a beautifully written, well researched story inspired by a real family who together survived the holocaust by hiding in a cave for well over a year. This is a story of courage, of love, of family, of culture , of religious beliefs, of how it is possible to sustain hope in the face of hunger and darkness and loss. Through the beloved character of Mrs . Petrovich, one of my favorites, the kind Christian neighbor, we are reminded of the goodness of people, so many of whom aided Jews through these horrifying times. Through the characters of the Cohan brothers, we are reminded of the courage of so many who risked their lives to save the people in their community. I was struck that this was about the importance of story telling, both real and wonderfully imagined on a number of levels. When the novel begins, it is Hanna telling her story of survival to her daughter. Hanna’s beloved friend, Mrs. Petrovich, tells her stories through the beautiful eggs she decorates. The spirits of the children as well as the adults were sustained in the dark cave by the voices the children as they say “ tell me a story”. There are stories told in the cave remembering loved ones, some biblical, and some are fables of a sort - all beautifully told. Then of course there is this beautiful story told by Tara Lynn Masih encompassing all of this, itself based on a true one. While this may be geared to a YA audience, it is far from an ordinary coming of age story. I believe it’s an extraordinary story that everyone should read because it’s an imperative reminder that we can’t forget that the Holocaust happened and we can’t let it happen again.I received an advanced copy of this book from Mandel Vilar Press through NetGalley.
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  • Amalia Gavea
    January 1, 1970
    ‘’As good as life looks now to us young children, there is still a sense of always looking over your shoulder for something to hit you.’’ This is one of the most beautiful books of the year. Based on the true story of a Jewish family living in Ukraine during the darkest period in History, the Second World War, it is a story of fear and struggle for survival, a fight for dignity and hope that refuse to be persecuted and die. Through the eyes of Hanna, a 14-year-old girl, we find ourselves in the ‘’As good as life looks now to us young children, there is still a sense of always looking over your shoulder for something to hit you.’’ This is one of the most beautiful books of the year. Based on the true story of a Jewish family living in Ukraine during the darkest period in History, the Second World War, it is a story of fear and struggle for survival, a fight for dignity and hope that refuse to be persecuted and die. Through the eyes of Hanna, a 14-year-old girl, we find ourselves in the beautiful, haunting Ukrainian forests in a time, when the dark clouds of fascism have covered the world.Hanna’s land becomes a trapped, helpless animal in the hands of the worst powers in European History, the Nazis and the Soviets. Under Stalin, every religion is forbidden. A good, useful member of the ‘’community’’ is made to show obedience to the State. Exclusively. Nothing else is sacred. There is no way out for the people and strife leads them to believe that the Nazis will be able to make things better. So, on the one side, Hitler is waiting. On the other, Stalin is in power. The country is trapped between two insane tyrants.The dark atmosphere is interrupted by the beautiful descriptions of a nature that is both mesmerizing and unsettling. It will soon be destroyed by the black boots of demons. It was a relief and a joy to read about the traditions, the customs, the prayers of the Jewish community. The folktales shared by grandmothers and mothers to the new generations, tales of courage that help them stand as bravely as they can. There are also extensive references to the pagan traditions of the land, before the coming of Christianity, particularly reflected in the Easter customs. Even the nightly forest, dark and full of dangers, holds a certain appeal. Tara Lynn Masih painted a background that is menacing and fascinating. ‘’Someday, someone will betray us. For money, for food, for their own lives spared.’’ The worst consequence of war is the way in which communities are torn apart. People who used to live together in peace and understanding become enemies prepared to jump at their neighbour’s throat. There is a particularly striking scene in which an old poster of Stalin is covered by a brand new poster of Hitler. For me, it was the saddest moment in the story, showing the lack of any kind of escape for the citizens. Another memorable moment -out of many- is the sequence of atrocities carried out as the immortal creations of Bach and Beethoven are echoing like a soundtrack from Hell. I don’t know whether this is historically accurate but it definitely makes you wonder how war destroys every sense of beauty and dignity and kindness in enemies and victims alike. ‘’Home is where you are safe.’’ Masih does a wonderful job in creating a claustrophobic, threatening atmosphere throughout the story. The nightmare of living in constant fear, waiting for that knock on the door that will lead you to Hell. The prejudice, the deliberate spreading of hostility against innocent people, how Populism always finds the soil to grow when the economic situation is shaky and no country is immune to this vile disease.In my opinion, this novel is on par with Between Shades of Gray. Perhaps, even better. The characters are extremely well-written and the writer didn’t resort to overtly violent descriptions for shock value. There is violence and cruelty but in a way that isn’t gory. There is no need for over-the-top descriptions. We all know what happened. We all know what war brings, even the fortunate generations that had no first-hand experience of what war really means. Still, there is hope. Every war eventually ends and nations that once were enemies now work together for peace and prosperity. This is how it should be. History should help us remember so as not to repeat the wrongs of the past. It isn’t there to prolong enmities between countries for all eternity. This is the only way to create some kind of sense in this tortured world….Many thanks to Mandel Vilar Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟5 beautiful and transfixing stars to My Real Name is Hanna!Some of the most meaningful, poignant books I have read have been about the Holocaust, and My Real Name is Hanna will be placed on that same shelf. “I will say my real name to you for the first time. Hanna Slivka. Don’t be scared. I am still your mother. Born on February twenty-second, in the winter of 1928. Your grandmother often told me to remember this date because that is the day that God allowed me into this world to breath 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟5 beautiful and transfixing stars to My Real Name is Hanna!Some of the most meaningful, poignant books I have read have been about the Holocaust, and My Real Name is Hanna will be placed on that same shelf. “I will say my real name to you for the first time. Hanna Slivka. Don’t be scared. I am still your mother. Born on February twenty-second, in the winter of 1928. Your grandmother often told me to remember this date because that is the day that God allowed me into this world to breathe my first soul breath of chilled Ukrainian air.” Hanna Slivka is a teen living in Soviet-occupied Ukraine when Hitler’s army crosses the border. She and her family are Jewish, and the Gestapo wants the town, Kwasova, to be “free of Jews.” The book begins, however, with a beautiful setting up of the scenery and daily life of this family living in a peaceful Ukraine. I was not familiar with the culture of Ukraine, especially during this time period, so I soaked in all of the stunningly descriptive prose. Once the army arrives, Hanna’s father is favored because he can fix things that no one else can, but eventually, their luck runs out, and they are forced to pack what they can and flee into the forest with other families. They later move to live in the caves for more security and less exposure. This is where they stayed for over a year’s time, but not without some of the good helpers in the world contributing. Based on true events, and with less than 5% of Ukrainian Jews surviving the Holocaust, this type of story begs to be told because there are so few around to tell it. Tara Lynn Masih’s lyrical writing illustrates the strength and sheer will of Hanna and her family to survive. Overall, My Real Name is Hanna is a strong, emotionally-resonant story of friendship, family, and true compassion in the most dire of times. Many thanks to the author for the finished copy to review. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    **This book was inspired by real Holocaust events"I have lost everything that can ever be lost. I have given everything that can ever be given." - my family's MA - Holocaust SurvivorHanna Slivka is almost fourteen years old when her entire world is turned upside down. Hitler's army has crossed into the Soviet occupied Ukraine. They are intent on making the land "free of Jews." Hanna's life goes from exploring with her siblings and helping her neighbor decorate psyanky eggs, to having rocks throw **This book was inspired by real Holocaust events"I have lost everything that can ever be lost. I have given everything that can ever be given." - my family's MA - Holocaust SurvivorHanna Slivka is almost fourteen years old when her entire world is turned upside down. Hitler's army has crossed into the Soviet occupied Ukraine. They are intent on making the land "free of Jews." Hanna's life goes from exploring with her siblings and helping her neighbor decorate psyanky eggs, to having rocks thrown at her on her walk home from school, to hiding in the walls of her home when the army comes, to eventually leaving everything behind to seek safety in the forest and eventually in an underground cave with several other families.The caves, although they provide protection, do not let in any sunlight, fresh air and keeps them in perpetual darkness both literally and figuratively. They do not know what is going on in the outside world, until their members must leave to find food and hopefully trade with nearby farmers.This book is a well written account of what it was like to live/survive during the Holocaust. Where neighbors either helped neighbors or turned on them. Where hatred and racism tore away people's morals and values. A time when fear and hatred ruled the day. But in the darkness of the caves, humanity existed. People helped people, lives were lived, hope remained, and the true meaning of what makes a home is learned.This is a timely book as there are so very few Holocaust survivors left in the world. My Ma passed away in 2017. Books such as this one keeps their stories and memories alive. No one truly knows what he/she is capable of until they are placed to the test. Readers may ask "could I survive this?" I hope none of us ever have to find out.As I mentioned this book is well written and contains beautiful descriptions of nature. I enjoyed Hanna's relationship with her next-door neighbor and both of their openness and interest in each other's lives. This book showed the strength of family bonds but also showed the strength of friendship and how small acts of kindness can not only make someone's day but can also save a life. This is a wonderful book about courage, survival, and family for readers of all ages but is geared for the YA population. A 2018 Skipping Stones Honor Award BookThank you to Mandel Vilar Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.Read more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    "I am no longer afraid to walk in the dark." In MY REAL NAME IS HANNA, a bright, courageous and clever young (soon to be) 14 year old narrates the story of her loving Jewish family as they navigate through the dangerous and deadly times of the holocaust. The Slivka's are good, caring people who don't harm anyone....just want to live in peace....but that is not to be. As rumors of a Nazi invasion to a remote Ukraine strengthen, escape is the only answer to stay together....stay alive....or die on "I am no longer afraid to walk in the dark." In MY REAL NAME IS HANNA, a bright, courageous and clever young (soon to be) 14 year old narrates the story of her loving Jewish family as they navigate through the dangerous and deadly times of the holocaust. The Slivka's are good, caring people who don't harm anyone....just want to live in peace....but that is not to be. As rumors of a Nazi invasion to a remote Ukraine strengthen, escape is the only answer to stay together....stay alive....or die on their own terms. Uprooted from their beloved home, papa Abram and mama Eva leave family and friends behind, gather together their three children and head off to a small cabin deep in the woods....until they must move on again....until intense fear take them into complete darkness. Oh. My. Gosh. While times are dark and struggles unending, there is love, hope and many kindnesses exchanged within the gripping pages of this relatively short novel. Special friends, meaningful tales, and oh that secret message tree make for an extraordinary and timely story for both young and old alike.MY REAL NAME IS HANNA is a work of fiction inspired by some true life experiences of a horrific past not to be forgotten, and yet another reminder of how prejudice can lead to a hate filled society of violence and death. Many thanks to author Tara Lynn Masih, and Mandel Vilar Press via NetGalley for the arc COMING SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 in exchange for review.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    “Dance me to the children who are asking to be bornDance me through the curtains that our kisses have outwornRaise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is tornDance me to the end of love” --Dance Me to the End of Love, Leonard Cohen, Songwriters: Leonard Cohen”I will say my real name to you for the first time. Hanna Slivka. Don’t be scared. I am still your mother. Born on February twenty-second, in the winter of 1928. Your grandmother often told me to remember this date because that is the “Dance me to the children who are asking to be bornDance me through the curtains that our kisses have outwornRaise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is tornDance me to the end of love” --Dance Me to the End of Love, Leonard Cohen, Songwriters: Leonard Cohen”I will say my real name to you for the first time. Hanna Slivka. Don’t be scared. I am still your mother. Born on February twenty-second, in the winter of 1928. Your grandmother often told me to remember this date because that is the day that God allowed me into this world to breathe my first soul breath of chilled Ukrainian air. “”She told me all this as we sat in fear for our lives in the dark. That our people believe the breath of life—neshamah—is holy. That she could see snow falling outside the window, great big flakes like goose feathers. And a bantam cock crowed, she said, as if to welcome me.””My family told stories. We swallowed them in place of food and water. Stories kept us alive in our underground sanctuary. The world continued to carry out its crimes above us, while we fought just to remain whole below.”Sharing this story with her daughter, now, from when this begins in May of 1941, she shares this story with us, as readers, her personal petition that this story, their family story, be held in her daughter’s memories. Life in Kwasova in the days before the war was simple and good, with their life filled with the daily rituals, the small tasks throughout the day, and prayer. But life changes as often as their country’s borders change, and historically they have been Ukrainian, Polish or Austrian citizens. On the day that Hitler invades, the 1st of September 1939, they are Polish, and the border is now down the middle of Poland. As the Nazis take over, hostility toward Jews increases, the number of people they can trust decreases, and by 1942, life is unsustainable there, and they make plans to leave, but it takes time to gather that which they hope to keep, and what they, reluctantly, must leave behind.They leave their home on October 12th of 1942, with Hanna leaving a note that includes all of their names, including their dog and horse, and the ages of the children, asking the person who finds this list to please say these names out loud, and then bury the paper in the yard.Once they leave, their journey is fraught with problems that start out small and few between, but as time goes by, and food is scarce or impossible to find. Shelter that they once had they are forced to leave until they seek shelter in a cave. Knowing the alternatives, there are few complaints at first, but as time goes by, the effects of living like this begin to take a toll. While the Nazi Camps are mentioned, the focus of this story is on this one extended family and their fight for survival in a story that is incredibly compelling, but without the descriptions of the horrors we have all come to know of by reading about the Holocaust. This is categorized as a Teens & Young-Adult novel, but can be appreciated by all ages. It is also worth noting that this story was inspired by Esther Stermer’s ”No Place on Earth”, a documentary, based on the true story Ms. Stermer’s book ”We Fight to Survive.” A quote by her follows a dedication at the start of this book:”Long ago, people believed that spirits and ghosts lived in the ruins and caves. Now we could see that there were none here. The devils and evil spirits were on the outside, not in the grotto.” -- Esther Stermer, author of”We Fight to Survive.”Pub Date: 25 Sep 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by Mandel Vilar Press
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    My Real Name is Hanna is a book that has come at the right time, a time when we all, young and old, need to be reminded of the cost of evil on and in society. We meet Hanna in her small Ukrainian village in 1941. Anti-semitism is rising, with taunting and school yard cruelty. Soon this will be replaced with more lethal threats but, for now, the Russians have taken control and have “only” limited all religious observances. If the Germans gain control of Ukraine, everything will change. Most of th My Real Name is Hanna is a book that has come at the right time, a time when we all, young and old, need to be reminded of the cost of evil on and in society. We meet Hanna in her small Ukrainian village in 1941. Anti-semitism is rising, with taunting and school yard cruelty. Soon this will be replaced with more lethal threats but, for now, the Russians have taken control and have “only” limited all religious observances. If the Germans gain control of Ukraine, everything will change. Most of the children are too young to understand or care about such things but Hanna, turning 14, understands enough to worry for herself, her family, friends, and all of the Jews who are threatened. She is human enough to worry for her good neighbors of all faiths. Ultimately, the German war machine does push the Russian army out of the country and begin its program of “freeing” towns of Jews. First they are identified, then labeled with the infamous star, then rounded up, then shipped off or killed where they stand. This story may be old to some but forgotten or unknown by many. Here we see some variations on this theme of extermination but the cruelty is the same. Hanna’s story, based on that of a real family similarly threatened, takes a different, often terrifying path. Before the Slivka family can be taken, they plan and, with others, leave carefully to hide as long as necessary in the forest or wherever else they must go in order to live. This hiding will last for many, many months in the forest, followed by many more underground. Masih has provided many cultural and religious insights within her story, fitting them seamlessly into the narrative of family events, adding to the value of the text as a young adult novel. There is also reference made to a readers guide in the afterword; this would be a helpful study guide. As I indicated above, I do believe that My Name is Hanna is a valuable book for our time. In a time where values and beliefs seem to be confused, it is helpful to read a beautiful book celebrating resilience and familial bonds and survival. This is a book adults can read with children. Both will benefit.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Tara Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Winner of a 2018 SKIPPING STONES HONOR AWARD, this is my first novel for young readers and adults, inspired by real events. Five years of research and writing went into My Real Name Is Hanna, inspired by a family who sought refuge in the gypsum caves of Ukraine during the Holocaust. The book, with its gorgeous cover and interior, is due out early Sept. 2018!“Hanna’s story . . . uncovers an astonishing, rich vein of hope in a world gone utterly dark. The anguish and love painted here are both tim Winner of a 2018 SKIPPING STONES HONOR AWARD, this is my first novel for young readers and adults, inspired by real events. Five years of research and writing went into My Real Name Is Hanna, inspired by a family who sought refuge in the gypsum caves of Ukraine during the Holocaust. The book, with its gorgeous cover and interior, is due out early Sept. 2018!“Hanna’s story . . . uncovers an astonishing, rich vein of hope in a world gone utterly dark. The anguish and love painted here are both timeless and timely.”–Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity“Tara Lynn Masih’s lovely, lyrical novel made me feel like I was reading a part of my parents’ story that I'd neglected to write . . . a worthy addition to the canon of Holocaust literature for young readers. As fine, delicate, and artful as a painted pysanka egg.”–Helen Maryles Shankman, author of They Were Like Family to Me, 2016 Story Prize finalist“It’s said the Holocaust defies imagination. Tara Lynn Masih defies that notion. My Real Name Is Hanna is a powerful, revelatory leap of imagination, taking readers on a journey with 14-year-old Hanna from the slowly enveloping horror of the Holocaust, to the literal and spiritual depths of being buried alive . . . An unforgettable odyssey.”̶ Greg Dawson, author of Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy’s Story of Survival“A gripping story of courage and endurance in the face of Nazi terror . . . My Real Name Is Hanna is a book that lives with you long after you have turned the final page.”–Diney Costeloe, best-selling author of The Girl with No Name
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    "It's ok to cry, Hanna...crying is a form of breathing."*ugly sobbing*Narrated in the voice of 14 year old Hanna, My Real Name is Hanna is the true story of a Jewish family on their quest for survival in the Ukraine during the Holocaust. The family eventually takes refuge in underground caves leaving them to try to make some semblance of a life while being cast in complete and total darkness."What is it like to take your last breath? What if the sound of it gave you away?"*more ugly sobbing*This "It's ok to cry, Hanna...crying is a form of breathing."*ugly sobbing*Narrated in the voice of 14 year old Hanna, My Real Name is Hanna is the true story of a Jewish family on their quest for survival in the Ukraine during the Holocaust. The family eventually takes refuge in underground caves leaving them to try to make some semblance of a life while being cast in complete and total darkness."What is it like to take your last breath? What if the sound of it gave you away?"*more ugly sobbing*This is a powerful story about family, hope and ultimately the goodness of mankind.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    A celebration of Jewish culture and a devastating account of one Jewish family’s struggle to escape the Nazis by hiding in a nearby underground cave, as told through the eyes of the compassionate, fourteen-year-old Hanna Slivka. Masih paints a portrait of Ukraine using rich sensory language and balances the beauty of before against the brutal realities of struggling to stay alive, ultimately creating a startling account of all that is lost and must be regained even after the fighting is over and A celebration of Jewish culture and a devastating account of one Jewish family’s struggle to escape the Nazis by hiding in a nearby underground cave, as told through the eyes of the compassionate, fourteen-year-old Hanna Slivka. Masih paints a portrait of Ukraine using rich sensory language and balances the beauty of before against the brutal realities of struggling to stay alive, ultimately creating a startling account of all that is lost and must be regained even after the fighting is over and the horrors finally begin to fade. I visit the same place every day, and watch life change. New green on the ends of hemlocks that look like little gloved hands. Pine cones appearing like brown jewelry on branches. Hardwood leaves starting to lose their green, letting other colors trickle through their leaf veins till they are full of yellow, orange, red. Then they let go gradually, and fall to the forest floor. In my mind, as I watch them fall, I see images of men, women, and children falling into ravines. -Many thanks to Tara Lynn Masih for generously providing a free copy of her wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Tara Masih’s short-story collection Where the Dog Star Never Glows, so I figured I was in good hands with her first novel, especially as the former’s stories range in time and to places that aren’t her own, as is the case here. One never knows how a writer’s talent and skill will translate to another genre, but no worries here: She delivers. This is the story of a Jewish family living in a remote Ukrainian village, trying to survive the liquidation Aktion of the Einsatzgruppen. Based on I loved Tara Masih’s short-story collection Where the Dog Star Never Glows, so I figured I was in good hands with her first novel, especially as the former’s stories range in time and to places that aren’t her own, as is the case here. One never knows how a writer’s talent and skill will translate to another genre, but no worries here: She delivers. This is the story of a Jewish family living in a remote Ukrainian village, trying to survive the liquidation Aktion of the Einsatzgruppen. Based on a true story (explained in an historical note by the author at the end), it’s one I hadn’t heard before. The political history of the area is complicated, and through her adult narrator (the grown Hanna) Masih handles it admirably. As the story goes on, the tension increases, even becomes heart-pounding, as the settings change from the family’s beloved house to the forest and then into “the dark.” My prior read was the nonfictional Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and the descriptions of privations, the details of malnutrition and starvation, and its effects, as well as the impetus of going without in order to feed the youngest members of the community, are heartbreakingly similar. Not to mention, of course, the ever-timely topic in both books of man’s inhumanity toward man—here, Hanna’s bewilderment matches our own.Though this is a book for young adults, it doesn’t talk down to them, as I feel some other Holocaust-related YA novels do. The lack of irritating YA tropes is another plus. It’s a rich work, full of traditions, folklore and literary references. I will eventually buy a copy to give to a relative, an older teen whom I’ve already given my copies of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Anne Frank: The Biography. While not nearly as horrific as Night in its details, this book doesn’t shy away from the truth either.*Addendum: It's been about 24 hours since I wrote this review and I'm still missing the book. It's one of those books I find hard to move on from in order to start another. Honestly, that's one of the highest compliments I can pay to any work.*I received an ARC of this book from the author. This has not affected my review.
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  • Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to NetGalley for a review copy of this book.This is a story told by Hanna Slivka to her daughter, about a part of her life that she has so far kept hidden from her—when at fourteen, she was living with her family in Russian occupied Ukraine. Life had become hard, their possessions reduced because of the strict rules the communists went by, and religion, also taboo to the communists, was something that couldn’t be practised as openly as when they were ‘free’. But these hardships seem no My thanks to NetGalley for a review copy of this book.This is a story told by Hanna Slivka to her daughter, about a part of her life that she has so far kept hidden from her—when at fourteen, she was living with her family in Russian occupied Ukraine. Life had become hard, their possessions reduced because of the strict rules the communists went by, and religion, also taboo to the communists, was something that couldn’t be practised as openly as when they were ‘free’. But these hardships seem nothing compared to what lay ahead for the Jewish family (and others in their village) when Hitler invades. Initially, the impact on them is in terms of helping persecuted people from other villages and towns to escape, more restrictions on food and resources, and having to face taunts and insults from some members of the community they have been part of. But before long, despite many friendly and kind (and indeed brave) neighbours’ help in keeping them safe in their own house, they soon have to leave and go into hiding for safety. For a period of over two years they must live, first in an isolated forest cabin, and then in an underground cave with others of their community, with precious little to eat, fearing for their lives every minute, not only from the Germans but also from many in their own village/surroundings who are willing to turn against them as easily. Thankfully for them, not all are like that and they do manage to get help from various friends, particularly their neighbour Alla Petrovich, and friend, farmer Yuri Janowski.While this story is a piece of fiction, the author has based it on a true incident of the Stermer family who survived the war living in such caves for over 500 days, a family who survived intact in a country where only 5 per cent and region where only 2 per cent of Jews survived. This is a very hard book to read and yet such an important one, for it brings us face to face with perhaps the ugliest side of humanity, as well as I guess, the best side. While the Slivkas do not see the worst of the Nazi atrocities, what little they see or hear of is also something that words can’t really describe. (I couldn’t help but wonder, one would dub Hitler as ‘mad’ at the least for the way his warped mind worked, but what about those hundreds of thousands who followed in his footsteps and perpetuated unspeakable atrocities? What is worse, as the author too writes in her note at the end, is human beings don’t seem to have learnt from this and continue to persecute on the basis of religion, of skin colour, of race.) The hardships (too mild a word, really) the family and their friends face in having to live with so little, in circumstances that we would wish on no living creature, and always having to look over their shoulder, perpetually being in fear of their lives is something that one can’t even imagine. What immense courage it must have taken to have the will to fight on, to live on, when literally everything seems against you, the invaders but also people that were of their own place, and the very the circumstances in which you are forced to live—disease, sickness, and malnutrition posing equally serious threats of their own. Each page one reads, each day that one reads of is heart-breaking. But there is hope in that for all of those who were cruel, who turned against their own, there were as well a few, who stood by them, facing as much danger of being caught and punished. They at least show that there is some ‘human’ left in human beings.But amidst all of this suffering and pain and heartbreak, there was something that kept the families’ lives somewhat normal, and brought a ray of pleasantness into the reader’s experience and this was how rich in culture this book was. The festivals that the Slivkas observed (now so much more familiar to me since I read All-of-a-Kind Family), the birthdays, were something, that even if could not be observed openly or fully as they were before, gave them something to hold on to, something that made life more liveable perhaps, though later, when food and resources becoms more and more scarce, these too are no longer there. But I loved the descriptions of these in the initial parts of the book as I did those of the local culture, Alla Petrovich’s egg-painting (pysanky), the local parades and festivals, and daily life.I haven’t read many books with a holocaust theme (only Anne Frank’s Diary, really), mostly because I know how heart-rending they will be (and how hard to handle), but I realise, it is also so very important to read them, to face how low human being can fall, how little they deserve the superiority they assume, though there are those in every circumstance, who certainly do deserve every accolade, who are really ‘human’. This is certainly one such books and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
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  • Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー)
    January 1, 1970
    About 3.7 stars rounded to 4. Review to come.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Inspired by real life events this is the heartbreaking and courageous story of Hanna Slivka and her family trying to escape Hitler's army in Ukraine. Hanna is only 14 years old but her bravery and spirit under such dire circumstances are commendable. This is a YA novel but everyone should read it to remind us that this should never happen again.Thank you to Mandel Vilar Press and Netgalley for a free e-copy.
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  • Anna Elliott
    January 1, 1970
    Generally speaking, once I have read a book I usually get straight on with the review while it is still fresh in my mind. However, every now and again I read a book that affects me so profoundly that I have to take a day or two to process what I have read. This was one such book and it completely took my breath away.For my full review please visit my blog at: https://leftontheshelfbookblog.blogsp...
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  • Joy D
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! What a great book! Loved this historical fiction about a Jewish Ukrainian family that survived WWII by hiding I forests and caves, as told from the perspective of Hanna, a teenage girl. She is relating the story to her child, looking back on her past experiences. This book is based on a true story of Esther Stermer’s family, as recorded in her book We Fight to Survive and a documentary film entitled No Place on Earth. The book is engrossing and well-crafted. Her prose exudes a simple and di Wow! What a great book! Loved this historical fiction about a Jewish Ukrainian family that survived WWII by hiding I forests and caves, as told from the perspective of Hanna, a teenage girl. She is relating the story to her child, looking back on her past experiences. This book is based on a true story of Esther Stermer’s family, as recorded in her book We Fight to Survive and a documentary film entitled No Place on Earth. The book is engrossing and well-crafted. Her prose exudes a simple and discreet beauty. It is one of the few books I’ve read about the events of WWII taking place in the Ukraine, where the populace dealt first with Russian control under Stalin and then the Nazis under Hitler. While concentration camps and slaughter of the Jewish population is referenced, the violent horrors are kept at arm’s length, as befitting a novel targeted toward young adults. I appreciated the author’s descriptions of nature and her ability to tell a moving story, while weaving in appealing flourishes such as Ukrainian folklore and Jewish traditions. Recommended to anyone interested in stories of survival during the Holocaust of age twelve to adult. I found it a powerful and touching narrative of courage and the will to survive, aided by the kindness of a few good-hearted people. I received an advance reader’s copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a candid review. Release date is September 18, 2018.
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  • Bev Walkling
    January 1, 1970
    I was very privileged to be contacted by Tara Lynn Masih and asked if I would be interested in reading an uncorrected proof of her book and reviewing it. It is set in the years of World War 2 which is a period of great interest to me so I was happy to say yes and the opinions expressed in this review are my unbiased ones.The book is set in Eastern Europe in an area that once was a part of Poland but which was taken over by the Russians shortly after the war began and eventually came under German I was very privileged to be contacted by Tara Lynn Masih and asked if I would be interested in reading an uncorrected proof of her book and reviewing it. It is set in the years of World War 2 which is a period of great interest to me so I was happy to say yes and the opinions expressed in this review are my unbiased ones.The book is set in Eastern Europe in an area that once was a part of Poland but which was taken over by the Russians shortly after the war began and eventually came under German control. I did a tour that included Poland this past fall so had some understanding of the history of the area before reading the story but the author does a good job of explaining it for those who might not be familiar with it.I was reading another book when I received this and decided I would just have a quick peek at the first few pages. The author has received awards for other writing which she has done and the talent that helped her earn them was evident within those first few pages I had read. I was immediately hooked and had to finish reading this book before the other one I had been reading previously.There is a quote from writer Isak Dineson at the beginning of the book. " All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them".The main character of the story is a mother speaking to her children and explaining to them that the name they know her by is not her real name. She has hidden her real name from them in order to protect them. Her real name is Hanna Slivka. And so she tells them her story...Around the time that war came to Hanna's world she was almost fourteen and living a happy life in her home town of Kwasova . As a young Jewish girl she was used to the occasional name calling sent her way in her shtetele and could count on her brother Symon to stand up for her. Over time as war arrives life becomes more complicated. Her father is well respected by Jews and Gentiles alike but gradually their freedoms are increasingly curtailed. They help refugees whoa re trying to escape from the authorities but it is unspoken as to speak of it could lead to severe consequences.The author has the ability to craft a story in such a way that she paints pictures with her words. As I was reading I would occasionally read sentences out loud to my adult daughter as they were just so perfect and I could visualize the scenes being described and even imagine the smells. As Hanna tells her children her story she is reliving it in her mind as if it is happening right in front of her. "On the way to drop them off, I walk by gardens blooming with lavender lilacs hanging heavy on their stems and buzzing with many gathering bees. The lilacs also grow along roadsides, on the top side of drainage ditches. I breathe in heavily the whole way. Blue barn swallows soar in the air, catching insects. They follow the ploughs churning up the soil, chasing more food."Hanna's story is not hers alone. It is the story of her family and of the people who helped them along the way. Interspersed in the story is information about the Jewish culture and traditions and also about the traditions of non-Jewish neighbours who believe that painted eggs called pysanki can help ward off evil. Throughout the book stories and folklore are a part of their life and a way of dealing with the horrors of the holocaust which surrounds them.The time comes when Hanna and her family must leave Kwasova to live in a forest hut. Two families share one room and food is scarce. Conditions are hard and the arrival of winter makes them even more so. There is an illusion of safety when in the forest, but all too soon even that disappears and it becomes clear they must find somewhere else to hide. Hidden caves become their new home. How they live and manage to survive with less and less food and light makes for a riveting story. When the war finally ends they soon find that there is no home to go back to.This book is described as being for young readers and I believe it fits into that genre very nicely and would make an excellent book for a school curriculum focusing on the Holocaust. Having said that, this book is also very suited to adults. Although almost all of the characters in the book are fictional, the novel was inspired by the real life story of the powerful matriarch Esther Stermer and her extended family along with four other families, who survived the war and invasion of the Wehrmacht by hiding in bunkers and later in underground caves. The depth of the authors research brings real life to the pages she has written.In her final notes, the author writes: " I dream of a day when we will no longer need Holocaust stories to remind us to be kind to each other, and to be watchful of those who aren't." This book is a good start on bringing that day closer. Please read it.
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  • The Book Valkyrie
    January 1, 1970
    DISCLAIMER: I was provided with an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review. So, here it goes...Wow. I guess you could say I'm blown away.My Real Name is Hanna follows the tale of Hanna Slivka, a young, Jewish girl living in the devastating events of WWII. The book starts out in modern day, many years after the war, with Hanna (then known as Marcelina Rosenberg) informing her daughter that her real name is Hanna. She then proceeds to tell the shockingly traumatizing story that led to h DISCLAIMER: I was provided with an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review. So, here it goes...Wow. I guess you could say I'm blown away.My Real Name is Hanna follows the tale of Hanna Slivka, a young, Jewish girl living in the devastating events of WWII. The book starts out in modern day, many years after the war, with Hanna (then known as Marcelina Rosenberg) informing her daughter that her real name is Hanna. She then proceeds to tell the shockingly traumatizing story that led to her changing her name and, more importantly, becoming the person she was. I absolutely devoured this book. It was so mesmerizing and lyrical that I almost felt like I was reading a poem. It also should be noted that although this is a work of fiction, it felt all too real. While I was reading this novel, I wasn't just READING it. I was standing right beside Hanna, my heart aching for her through every single hardship she went through. Congratulations, Tara Lynn Masih, on composing an absolutely breathtaking piece of writing. Thank you to NetGalley, Mandel Vilar Press, and the author for giving me a chance to read this magnificent novel.
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  • Jay -hooked on books
    January 1, 1970
    My Real Name is Hanna is a coming-of-age tale set in Kwasova, Ukraine, in the early 1940s. Growing up in the Soviet-occupied town, 14 year old Hanna and her siblings experience anti-semitic bullying, and learn to navigate their surroundings with caution. The hatred they come across startles them, but they find ways to live relatively peacefully and comfortably. But when the Gestapo crosses into their shtetele , the Slivkas find that their survival depends on abandoning their home and fleeing. A My Real Name is Hanna is a coming-of-age tale set in Kwasova, Ukraine, in the early 1940s. Growing up in the Soviet-occupied town, 14 year old Hanna and her siblings experience anti-semitic bullying, and learn to navigate their surroundings with caution. The hatred they come across startles them, but they find ways to live relatively peacefully and comfortably. But when the Gestapo crosses into their shtetele , the Slivkas find that their survival depends on abandoning their home and fleeing. Along with another Jewish family, aided by kind souls in their town, they manage to escape to some cabins in forest outside. When life in the forest becomes dangerous too, they flee to an underground cave. Resources are sparse, and Hanna and her friends have to battle dwindling spirits and health. Trapped between starvation and certain death at the hands of Nazis, the Slivkas and the Stadnicks have to learn to survive each day. Tara Lynn Masih weaves in Jewish and Ukrainian folklore in to this poignant tale inspired by real-life events. Hanna's story resonates with grit, courage, strength and love for ones' family. It is also a celebration of survival, of kindness and compassion in the face of tyranny. Hanna's narrative voice will move you, rattle you, and leave you with a sense of having witnessed something hauntingly beautiful. Tara Lynn Masih does not resort to overt descriptions of the violence that occupied this geographical region at this particular point in time, and instead captures the terror of war and tyranny in every day events. This has a particularly powerful effect on the reader.
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  • Alja Katuin
    January 1, 1970
    Intrigueing read, I absolutely loved it!
  • Jo Sorrell
    January 1, 1970
    There are many excellent Holocaust books, but this one stood out to me. Our story is based on the true story of a Jewish family living in the Ukraine during the darkest period in History. It is a story of fear and the endless struggle to survive. Families had to fight for dignity and for strength in hope that stands against those who choose to persecute and kill the innocent. Our story is portrayed through the eyes of Hanna, a 14-year-old girl who lives her family. Hanna’s homeland has fallen in There are many excellent Holocaust books, but this one stood out to me. Our story is based on the true story of a Jewish family living in the Ukraine during the darkest period in History. It is a story of fear and the endless struggle to survive. Families had to fight for dignity and for strength in hope that stands against those who choose to persecute and kill the innocent. Our story is portrayed through the eyes of Hanna, a 14-year-old girl who lives her family. Hanna’s homeland has fallen into the hands of the worst powers in European History, the Nazis and the Soviets. Under Stalin, every religion is forbidden. Who should the people believe; Hitler, Stalin? The country is trapped between two insane tyrants!The author offers a descriptive background about the traditions, the customs, and the prayer life of the Jewish community. There are also extensive references to the pagan traditions of the land, before the coming of Christianity, particularly reflected in the Easter customs. One of the worst consequences of war is the way in which communities are torn apart. People who used to live together in peace and understanding become enemies, prepared to jump at their neighbor’s throat. It’s all about survival. As the enemy closes in on the Jewish families, they seek refuge deep inside a cave. They live in the absence of light and an extremely small amount of food, yet families persevere.But this is true life and not all survive, but those that do honor the dead after the war ends and a more normal life begins. How can life ever be normal again? They are moved to Poland and take on a new identity. Thus, the title, My Real Name Is Hanna. Small sacrifice to live again.I read this unforgettable book during the July 2018 cave rescue of the twelve boys and their soccer coach all from Thailand. The claustrophobia must have been oppressive along with the acute possibility of death. Thankfully all thirteen survived, unlike the Jews.Be sure to read the Historical Note at the end of the book. It brings the whole ordeal in perspective. Yet this reader wonders, where does that will to survive in the most grotesque of circumstances come from? I’m thinking it’s the family bond.
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  • Sheela
    January 1, 1970
    My Real Name is Hanna was an emotionally powerful read. Based on true events during WW2, this book centers on Hanna's family as they are driven from their home and into the forest to hide from the Nazis. There's a horribly realistic feel to the storytelling but it manages to not push too far, the pain as well as the hope these people felt comes through. I enjoyed the sense of family, community and Jewish traditions that brought light to the bleakness of the time. I think this is terrific for mid My Real Name is Hanna was an emotionally powerful read. Based on true events during WW2, this book centers on Hanna's family as they are driven from their home and into the forest to hide from the Nazis. There's a horribly realistic feel to the storytelling but it manages to not push too far, the pain as well as the hope these people felt comes through. I enjoyed the sense of family, community and Jewish traditions that brought light to the bleakness of the time. I think this is terrific for middle grade/YA readers with an interest in what things were like for the Jewish community during the Nazi takeovers.
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  • Dani Dee
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley, Mandel Vilar Press, and Tara Lynn Masih for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. WOW. I really needed this book in my life. A beautiful, haunting, melodic coming-of age historical fiction book that leaves you pondering it after you finish the final page. I practically inhaled this book as soon as I downloaded it, I was that engrossed in the storyline. Hanna Silvka narrates the book and speaks to her daughter about her life as a fourteen year old living in Russia occ Thank you to Netgalley, Mandel Vilar Press, and Tara Lynn Masih for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review. WOW. I really needed this book in my life. A beautiful, haunting, melodic coming-of age historical fiction book that leaves you pondering it after you finish the final page. I practically inhaled this book as soon as I downloaded it, I was that engrossed in the storyline. Hanna Silvka narrates the book and speaks to her daughter about her life as a fourteen year old living in Russia occupied Ukraine in WWII era. The lyrical nature of the language was beautifully done and the message for the reader incredibly poignant in these contemporary times. I enjoyed it and I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction, young adults and adult readers alike, and those who love the written word.
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  • Alissa Haley
    January 1, 1970
    I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC of this book!
  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Finished reading: July 23rd 2018 "Life is not good, however you are living it, if you become like those who don't value you." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Mandel Vilar Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[Give me a WWII historical fiction story and I'm sold. Add a lesser known setting (Ukraine), and I'm just about jumping up and down from sheer excitement. Oh yes, I had high expectations for My Real Name Is Hanna and not j Finished reading: July 23rd 2018 "Life is not good, however you are living it, if you become like those who don't value you." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Mandel Vilar Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! *** (view spoiler)[Give me a WWII historical fiction story and I'm sold. Add a lesser known setting (Ukraine), and I'm just about jumping up and down from sheer excitement. Oh yes, I had high expectations for My Real Name Is Hanna and not just because of the beautiful cover and comparison to Between Shades Of Gray. While I do have to note that the ARC version I read had a lot of editing issues (both related to the font, repeated words over and over again and sentences being cut and never finished), I am confident those issues will be fixed in the final sentence and therefore I won't hold it against the story itself. And there is no doubt that this story set in WWII Ukraine is absolutely wonderful. Though not based on a specific true story, the events are all too real and will shine a light on how Jewish families tried to hide and survive in Ukraine. Both descriptions of the setting and the different characters make the story really come alive and it feels as if you are living the horrific experiences along with them. I really liked the writing style and the way the story was told; the inclusion of local customs a huge bonus. The character development is thorough as well and it was interesting to see them evolve over time, reacting to the increasingly dire situation. If you are like me a fan of WWII survivor stories, My Real Name Is Hanna is a must-read.Hanna Slivka is still young when Hitler's army crosses the border to Ukraine, and soon the Germans are closing in. Her shtetele used to be run by Russians, and she used to spend her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings as well as helping her neighbor with her decorative pysanky eggs. But all that ends when the Germans take over, and both Hanna, her family and other Jewish families are forced to flee the shtetele in order to try and stay alive.I was drawn to My Real Name Is Hanna from the very first time I saw it mentioned. I have a weak spot for WWII stories and this one sounded particularly interesting. And there is no doubt that this YA historical fiction story delivered. Well written, well developed, emotional, harrowing, heartbreaking and with a healthy dose of local customs and excellent descriptions of the setting... Oh yes, there is a lot to love in My Real Name Is Hanna. This book shouldn't be missing from the wishlist of any WWII historcial fiction fan. (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.
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  • Tara Vaglio
    January 1, 1970
    This was such an incredible story! Set during WWII, this historical fiction focuses on a Jewish Ukrainian family told from the perspective of their daughter, Hanna. I have read a lot of books based on events of the Holocaust, but this is the first I’ve read that focuses on the events that took place in the Ukraine. This novel is written for young adults, so the references of concentration camps and slaughter are kept to a minimum. Instead, the author focuses on descriptions of nature, folklore, This was such an incredible story! Set during WWII, this historical fiction focuses on a Jewish Ukrainian family told from the perspective of their daughter, Hanna. I have read a lot of books based on events of the Holocaust, but this is the first I’ve read that focuses on the events that took place in the Ukraine. This novel is written for young adults, so the references of concentration camps and slaughter are kept to a minimum. Instead, the author focuses on descriptions of nature, folklore, and Jewish traditions. This is recommended to anyone that is interested in stories of survival during the Holocaust. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sally
    January 1, 1970
    This was fantastic. A (fictional) story of one entire Ukrainian Jewish family's survival in the holocaust, based on a real family who did just that. The afterword inspired me to add a few more books to my to-read list, and I even just bought a copy of one of them (Hiding in the Spotlight) :) I haven't read much about Ukraine during WWII and I found it a fascinating account!
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured this book in one sitting as it was is hard to put it down. It was well written storyline was well thought out and powerful. I would highly recommend it.
  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Oh gosh this book!! This book will linger with me for a long time.I read it in two days because I simply could not put it down and when I had to put it down it was all I could think about.The story is set during WWII in Ukraine. Hanna, a young Jewish girl of almost 14 goes to school and helps her neighbour paint psyanky eggs. Things slowly start to change in her day to day life as Hitler invades Ukraine. They are given less food on their ration cards than anyone else and experiences bullying fro Oh gosh this book!! This book will linger with me for a long time.I read it in two days because I simply could not put it down and when I had to put it down it was all I could think about.The story is set during WWII in Ukraine. Hanna, a young Jewish girl of almost 14 goes to school and helps her neighbour paint psyanky eggs. Things slowly start to change in her day to day life as Hitler invades Ukraine. They are given less food on their ration cards than anyone else and experiences bullying from others at school but that was just the beginning. Hitler is set on making the land "free of Jews" and that is when Hanna's live really turns upside down. They are forced to hide in the walls of their house, leave their home and flee to the forest before eventually living in underground caves to evade capture.This was a heartbreaking read that reminds us of a time when fear and hatred ruled, but also of when love, hope and kindness prevail. Word's from the author that ring so true. " I dream of a day when we will no longer need Holocaust stories to remind us to be kind to each other, and to be watchful of those who aren't."Thank you to NetGalley and Mandel Vilar Press for the review copy!
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  • Brooklyn Tayla
    January 1, 1970
    This book wholly and utterly blew me away! It was such an emotional read from the very start and I honestly couldn’t put it down! It was so raw, it felt like I was openly reading a letter from mother to daughter, from the present, before whirling back to the past, and reminiscing about Hanna’s life, from her early years exploring her home town with her younger brother and sister, until the Gestapo’s minions close in and they are forced to flee and leave what they know and what possessions they l This book wholly and utterly blew me away! It was such an emotional read from the very start and I honestly couldn’t put it down! It was so raw, it felt like I was openly reading a letter from mother to daughter, from the present, before whirling back to the past, and reminiscing about Hanna’s life, from her early years exploring her home town with her younger brother and sister, until the Gestapo’s minions close in and they are forced to flee and leave what they know and what possessions they love behind.The childhood innocence in this book was utterly precious, that Hanna, Symon and their sister didn’t quite understand what they were going through, and that they fast learnt that they had to leave some things behind when fleeing for their safety, yet, their love for one another, and their parents, is really what resonated as being most powerful throughout the book. All throughout, as they were in fear of being discovered and taken away from one another to labour camps or other horrors, that as long as they were together, they had what was most important with them all along!The writing evoked so much emotion, it was so powerful and as I read the story, I easily felt like I could put myself in Hanna’s shoes, and even though, taking into account how the book opens, I had some assumptions about how the book would go, I was definitely awed all the way throughout, I loved Hanna’s special and unique bond with her neighbor, and cute little interactions with Leon, I found myself longing for this book when I was apart from it, and this is easily one of the greatest historical fiction pieces I’ve read in some time!"My Real Name is Hanna" is filled with powerful, visual writing that at times chilled me to the core, picturing Hanna and her family seeking refuge in those caves, and at times on the edge of my seat in a nervous fashion, easily awaiting what would come next! By the conclusion, I was definitely feeling awe inspired and moved, that’s for sure!"My Real Name is Hanna" is expected to hit shelves on the 15th of September, 2018. Historical fiction lovers or anyone who loves a powerful read, you won’t want to miss out on this!Thank you again to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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