Review of Tara Lynn Masih’s MY REAL NAME IS HANNA

Tara Lynn Masih. Mandel Vilar Press, $16.95 paperback (208p) ISBN: 9781942134510

In 1940s Kwasova, Ukraine, the Nazis are eradicating the Jewish population, and fourteen-year-old Hanna and her family physically wither as they’re forced first from their home to the surrounding wilderness and ultimately to the dark depths of a cave. In order to survive they sell off cherished possessions for food, steal when they must, and squeeze together to stave off the punishing cold of winter, all the while wrestling with the constant dread of being discovered. Author Masih maintains a perfect balance of pacing and tension, and in Hanna creates a strong and inspiring young female protagonist. Elegantly detailed, it’s a story of sacrifice and survival told for a time from the literal blackness beneath the surface of the earth, a place where spirits are tested but not broken, where little more than love nurtures new life, and, despite the bleak surroundings, sparks of youthful discovery light the cold walls. Highly readable and affecting, it’s a haunting and hopeful work that deserves a broad audience. And at this particularly divisive time when fear and intolerance is constantly crowding the headlines, this book offers seeds of compassion to young and experienced readers alike. (September 2018)

Purchase My Real Name Is Hanna HERE.

Reviewer bio: Mel Bosworth is the author of the novel FREIGHT and co-author with Ryan Ridge of the short fiction collection SECOND ACTS IN AMERICAN LIVES.