ARC REVIEW: My Real Name Is Hanna – by Tara Lynn Masih

Title: My Real Name Is Hanna
Author: Tara Lynn Masih
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
First published: September 11th 2018
Publisher: Mandel Vilar Press
Finished reading: July 23rd 2018
Pages: 208

“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! ***

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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.

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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.

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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.


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WWW Wednesdays #180 – July 25th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still reading Run And Hide by Alan McDermott, which is proving to be a fast read so far. And since I was in the mood for some YA contemporary, I decided to start Kids Of Appetite by David Arnold. I adored Mosquitoland, so I’m having high hopes for this one! I’m also going to give Misery by Stephen King a second chance to see if I’m in the mood for it. And you might be surprised to no longer see Hunted by Meagan Spooner mentioned… I wasn’t in the mood for it and after picking it up and putting it down once too many I’m saving it for a different time.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint (3/5 stars) REVIEW
On its own, Broken Dolls has all the signs of a potentially explosive read. The disturbing plot, plot twists to spare, a lot of action, secrets and lies… It’s a tough case and world to dive into, but without doubt a recipe for an interesting story. Something stopped me from properly enjoying it though, and I don’t think it was the fact I haven’t been able to read the previous books. I’m having the feeling it has more to do with the writing style and tone, which just didn’t work for me and made it lot more difficult to keep reading. Is it simply another case of ‘not for me’ or is something more specific going on? I’m not sure, but the fact is that I wasn’t able to enjoy the story as I thought I would.

2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 29/07
While this story has a lot of tropes that might make me potentially hate a story (insta-love, love triangle, geek cliche, musician cliche etc etc), I somehow ended up having a blast reading Attachments. Sure, there were a lot of cliches to deal with. Sure, things did get cheesy at points. Sure, there was a love triangle vibe going on. But somehow, if you are just looking for a light, fluffy and entertaining read, this story really works.

3. My Real Name Is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
Some serious editing issues aside, which I will forgive since it’s an ARC and not a finished edition, this story set in WWII Ukraine is absolutely wonderful. Though not based on a specific true story, 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. If you are a fan of good WWII survivor stories, this one is a must read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to make a dent into my NG ARCs, and it’s time to finally pick up my copy of The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I’m a bit afraid because of the hype, but I just can’t resist any longer! I’m also supposed to pick up The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse some time soon. And since I seem to be in the mood for lighter reads, I’ve put Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman on the top of my TBR pile. He is easily one of my absolute favorite authors and I can’t wait to read more about Britt-Marie. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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