Traitor: A Novel of World War II

Content Overview

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Blood, Crime


Potentially Intense Themes


**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

My Opinion

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) This story focuses on Poland and its struggles with the Soviet Union and Germany and much more. We follow two teens who are running for their lives. It was a different WW2 novel in the fact that we follow more of the fighting among young soldiers and factions but also see a lot of the struggles civilians. 

At times it was very confusing going between 2 POV because their experiences were very similar. Their stories were also 3 years apart so it was difficult to find the connections and why there were 2 POV. 

I liked the story and I liked the experiences but I spent too much time figuring out which characters were important and which side they were on. I felt the characters needed to be going through very different experiences for me to tell them apart. Because they were both teens, boys and running from soldiers, it felt too similar. 

Overall a great story. It felt more like adult historical fiction than YA. Some of the violence was pretty intense. 

Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group for the copy in exchange for an honest review. This book is out August 25, 2020.

Traitor: A Novel of World War II

Amanda McCrina

Poland, 1944. After the Soviet liberation of Lwów from Germany, the city remains a battleground between resistance fighters and insurgent armies, its loyalties torn between Poland and Ukraine. Seventeen-year-old Tolya Korolenko is half Ukrainian, half Polish, and he joined the Soviet Red Army to keep himself alive and fed. When he not-quite-accidentally shoots his unit’s political officer in the street, he’s rescued by a squad of Ukrainian freedom fighters. They might have saved him, but Tolya doesn’t trust them. He especially doesn’t trust Solovey, the squad’s war-scarred young leader, who has plenty of secrets of his own.

Then a betrayal sends them both on the run. And in a city where loyalty comes second to self-preservation, a traitor can be an enemy or a savior—or sometimes both.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings. 

Detailed Content Review



H***- 25

S***- 5



D***- 9

Bas****- 11

Religious Cursing



G**- 8


Derogatory terms etc-


Godless Stalinist whore

Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

A man smokes a cigarette.

A man drink vodka. 

A young man is given morphine to get a bullet out. 

A man smokes a cigarette, a young man feels his body want it.

A man smokes a cigarette.

A man smokes a cigarette.

A brother finds an empty vodka bottle by his younger brothers bed.

A man smokes a cigarette.

A man smokes a cigarette.

A man smokes a cigarette.

A man rolls a cigarette. 

A man smokes a cigarette.

A man holds a cigarette and a glass of scotch.

A young man takes codeine for pain and acetaminophen for fever. 

A young woman smokes a cigarette. She gives one to a young man and he smokes it.

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

*Minor LGBTQ+ aspects included*

A man sees what he believes is a man “assaulting” a young woman.

A young woman kisses a young man’s neck and fingers. 

A young man talks about “other methods of payment” and a young woman slaps him. 

A young man and young woman are seen kissing.

While in and out of consciousness, a young man feels a young man kiss his lips and eyelids and face.

A young woman holds a young man’s face and kisses him softly. 

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A man shoots another man twice when he looks to be assaulting a young woman. Two puddles of blood form on the sidewalk. Men chase the killer, shooting machine guns at him.

 A man’s parents have both been killed, his father was labeled a traitor and killed during torture, his mother was shot for being from the enemy country. His aunt was shot with a sniper. His friend is believed to have shot herself to not get caught. 

A young woman holds a gun to a man’s face and requests his weapons. 

The bodies of six men are found with shots to the head. 

Polish citizens have been raped, tortured, shot and their bodies marked with words like traitor. 

Bullets fire at a young man as he runs. One hits him in the shoulder. Later they dig the bullet out. 

Gun shots are heard and a group knows the prison guards are killing prisoners. 

A young man bites another man as he is dragged, tied up. He slams the butt of his rifle in his stomach. When untied a young man launches at the man, they fight, the man slashing with a knife, the young man slamming his face to the floor. A man puts a pistol to the young man’s ear.

A young man is told his father is dead. He’d been in prison and the guards have been killing prisoners for days. His body would be unidentifiable. 

A young man is forced to kill another young man. He shoots him and cries. 

A young man shoves an old woman for insulting him. Someone punches him in the jaw for it and a young man tackles the puncher. A young man spits blood. 

A young man is tied to a chair with blood running down his face. His feet are tied so tight they are purple. His toenails and fingernails had also been removed, as well as some fingers. 

A young man puts a gun to a young man’s breastbone and shoots, killing him. He felt it was too easy. 

A young man holds a knife to a young man’s neck.

Shots are fired at two young men. One is shot in the back of his legs. Blood was bubbling through holes in his pants. 

During a barrage a bullets, a young man runs out and sees someone with a gun so he quickly shoots then keeps running. 

A young man finds his brother dead with a bayonet in his spine and a note of all the things someone did to his brother to torture and kill him. 

A young man is shot in the legs as he’s running from shooters. He takes a gun and shoots the underside of his own chin and falls dead. His friend watched. 

A man punches a young man. When he falls, the man steps on him and pushes his rifle to the young man’s neck. The young man spits on the man and he gets the butt of the rifle to his stomach. He is forced to dig a grave with his fingers but after they get bloody, they give him a small shovel. A man burns him with his cigarette. A man holds a gun to his head. He is tied up to a tree.

There is an attack with guns. Many are dead, one man whimpers then clutches his throat as blood gurgles from a wound. A man hands a knife to a young man and requires him to kill the man. He refuses so another shoots him. The man gurgles, sighs then is dead. The man shoots the body many more times then hits the young man with the butt of the gun. He wakes tied up and gets whipped and tortured and blacks out regularly. 

Machine gun fire, thump of door opening, screams and sounds of a struggle are heard over and over. It’s later learned it was men searching and finding Jews. 

A young man holds a gun to a man’s head. 

A man pulled up a young man by his hair, a woman bit him, the man hit another young man with the butt of his pistol. He had a black eye and was swollen for weeks.

A woman holds a gun to a man’s chest.

A young man is tied up face down on the floor.

A man shoots four men near him. One groans so he shoots him in the head. 

A young man sees a man’s body and a young man’s body recently shot. 

A village was forced to watch a lashing of a man. 

40,000 polish citizens are killed in one week.

Machine gun fire shreds through the windows into a room with people. People scatter and a grenade is thrown in. A door is blown out and lands on a young man. There is machine gun fire as a young man runs, many bodies are on the ground. A grenade explodes. Men are shooting into a cellar where people are. They chase him and he shoots one in the chest, then shoots at another one. He shoots three more in the head. A young woman shoots a man between the eyes. Then she kills 3 others. A young man kills another. 

Potentially Intense Themes

A pile of bodies outside a prison is waist high.

A young man finds the body of the father-like figure to him. 

Men have strung up a body of a young man. His friend finds it and lowers him down.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 


  1. I’ve read books in the historical fiction in the past where POVs were easily interchangeable. It’s such a bummer.

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