5 Stars for this poignant, beautifully written debut YA novel that was inspired by real Holocaust events.
One of the most touching aspects of this book for me was the strength, determination, loyalty and love each of the characters showed during such a bleak and desperate time. It isn’t easy to sustain positivity during such a horrifying time. Yet, family, friendship, hope, culture, devotion and religious beliefs paid a pivotal role in sustaining the Jewish people through the darkest of times when all else was lost.
In My Real Name is Hanna , Hanna Slivka is a young teen forced to leave her home and life as she knows it behind when the Germans cross the border into the Ukraine intent on making the land "Jew free". Along with members of her family and others from her village, she is forced into hiding in underground caves. There they live in the damp and cold darkness with meager amounts of food and little to no real comforts for over a year.
For a book focused on a time filled with such bleakness, cruelty and despair the story was beautiful, almost lyrical in its descriptions and emphasized compassion. It focused on the people that put their lives at risk to help others. The strong familial bonds and unyielding friendships depicted were a stark contrast to the prejudice, violence and hate of the time.
This is a powerful story that should be read and experienced by all.
For more information on the real events that inspired this story check out this article on Esther Stermer and her family - Jewish-Stermer-family-Ukraine-hid-cave-escape-Holocaust.html