My Real Name is Hanna
Tara Lynn Masih
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Would I recommend: Yes.
I was given a free copy of this book from Netgalley – so thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
My Real Name Is Hanna is about a young girl named Hanna, who is fourteen, and her family in the midst of WWII. Living in Ukraine, their land becomes overwhelmed with the Gestapo and they go from a normal Jewish family to one that must be on the run in order to save their own lives. From hiding in the forest, sending secret messages on trees, to living in a cave – Hanna learns the cruelty of humans, how to survive on little-to-nothing, and to never forget how important hope, family, and love are to the human spirit.
This was a great story. I typically seek out books around WWII, the holocaust, and other related matter as they are all such important stories that we cannot forget. While this is a fictional story, it is based on real events and Tara Lynn Masih does a great job at making you feel a lot of the same things Hanna and her family must go through. However, there will never be a way to fully understand the fear, hunger, despair, and the fight for one’s life that millions of people experienced during this time.
I enjoyed the “coming of age” piece of Hanna in this story especially with such a complex world happening around her at the same time. While I didn’t feel as many things for Hanna’s siblings in this story, I did love the depth that was played out with Abram (her father) and Eva (her mother). I also enjoyed Hanna’s friendship with her non-Jewish neighbor which wraps around by the end of the story, too.
The pieces I didn’t enjoy as much were the parts of the story that were very slow-paced regarding the location-at-the-time the family was living in – whether the small cabin or the cave. While I can understand and appreciate the need to slow down and really hone in on life in these conditions, there were times that it got sluggish for my style of reading. It didn’t always become relevant what was happening, either, but did bring out some great flashback stories or showcased the relationships Hanna experienced in her life.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story and witnessing Hanna’s growth into adulthood as someone living in such a horrendous and difficult time in history. Despite the few small, personal things I may have not adored about this book, it was an overall wonderful and important read as are many books around this historical time.
- Have you read this book? Thoughts?
- Do you enjoy WWII or historical fiction books?