Title: The Silent Unseen
Author: Amanda McCrina
Publication: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: YA Fiction, Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek―who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” a special-operations agent with an audacious plan to resist a new and even more dangerous enemy sweeping in from the East. When Tomek disappears, Maria is determined to find him, but the only person who might be able to help is a young Ukrainian prisoner and the last person Maria trusts―even as she feels a growing connection to him that she can’t resist.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I have a fascination with World War 2 stories, especially those about survival and the heroic things people did just to survive. The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina sounded like it was going to be right up my alley. I was very excited to read.
I’m going to start with a note that I did not finish this novel. The story follows Maria, trying to find her family after World War II, and Tomek, her brother who is working a dangerous job to take down the new enemy sweeping in. Right off the bat, I was confused with Tomek’s story. There was no lead in. He’s at a bar waiting on someone and then a woman officer arrives and it’s moving very quickly and there wasn’t a lot of explanation. With that finished it continued. I preferred Maria’s story parts over Tomek’s only because they were more understandable, not as confusing, and just generally better written. Maybe it was McCrina’s goal to make Tomek’s story seem more frazzled, but it really bothered me reading.
I think the story idea is interesting and could be really great, but the execution for me was the big downfall of this book. As I continued to force myself to read, because doing it for fun was just not happening as I was not enjoying it much, I really just did not like the writing style or the storytelling. The story was not cohesive and did not have that flow that most books have as you read. Even with two story lines, I feel this could have been more fluid.
I have never read a book by McCrina before and I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. This book was not something I enjoyed and would not recommend if someone asked, but there are plenty that would really enjoy this story I think. My personal taste did not and I decided to put it down and not finish because I was not enjoying it at all. I encourage others to check it out and I will always give McCrina another try with her next novel to see if I like that.