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Traitors Among Us

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World War II may be over. But two sisters are far from safe. Inspired by true events, this is the latest gripping and powerful novel from the acclaimed author of Making Bombs for Hitler. Sisters Krystia and Maria have been through the worst -- or so they think. World War II ravaged their native Ukraine, but they both survived, and are now reunited in a displaced persons camp World War II may be over. But two sisters are far from safe. Inspired by true events, this is the latest gripping and powerful novel from the acclaimed author of Making Bombs for Hitler. Sisters Krystia and Maria have been through the worst -- or so they think. World War II ravaged their native Ukraine, but they both survived, and are now reunited in a displaced persons camp. Then another girl accuses the sisters of being Hitler Girls -- people who collaborated with the Nazis. Nothing could be further from the truth; during the horrors of the war, both sisters resisted the Nazis and everything they stood for. But the Soviets, who are now in charge, don't listen to the sisters' protests. Krystia and Maria are taken away and interrogated for crimes they never committed. Caught in a dangerous trap, the sisters must look to each other for strength and perseverance. Can they convince their captors that they're innocent -- or escape to safety before it's too late?


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World War II may be over. But two sisters are far from safe. Inspired by true events, this is the latest gripping and powerful novel from the acclaimed author of Making Bombs for Hitler. Sisters Krystia and Maria have been through the worst -- or so they think. World War II ravaged their native Ukraine, but they both survived, and are now reunited in a displaced persons camp World War II may be over. But two sisters are far from safe. Inspired by true events, this is the latest gripping and powerful novel from the acclaimed author of Making Bombs for Hitler. Sisters Krystia and Maria have been through the worst -- or so they think. World War II ravaged their native Ukraine, but they both survived, and are now reunited in a displaced persons camp. Then another girl accuses the sisters of being Hitler Girls -- people who collaborated with the Nazis. Nothing could be further from the truth; during the horrors of the war, both sisters resisted the Nazis and everything they stood for. But the Soviets, who are now in charge, don't listen to the sisters' protests. Krystia and Maria are taken away and interrogated for crimes they never committed. Caught in a dangerous trap, the sisters must look to each other for strength and perseverance. Can they convince their captors that they're innocent -- or escape to safety before it's too late?

30 review for Traitors Among Us

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    Originally from Ukraine, Maria and her older sister Krystia have made it through separate ordeals during World War II and are now back together again. They cannot believe their luck: Hitler is dead, and the war has ended. And yet, they are not as safe as they thought. As the sisters settle into their shared bunk with other exhausted refugees in the Displaced Persons camp, a familiar girl steps through the door, claiming to be Bianka, a Polish forced laborer who worked on a farm with Maria during Originally from Ukraine, Maria and her older sister Krystia have made it through separate ordeals during World War II and are now back together again. They cannot believe their luck: Hitler is dead, and the war has ended. And yet, they are not as safe as they thought. As the sisters settle into their shared bunk with other exhausted refugees in the Displaced Persons camp, a familiar girl steps through the door, claiming to be Bianka, a Polish forced laborer who worked on a farm with Maria during the war. Maria is outraged. This girl is not Bianka, but Sophie Huber, an enthusiastic member of the League of German Girls. She's a Hitler Girl. Before Maria can turn her in, Sophie claims that Krystia and Maria are Nazis, and the Soviet soldiers don't seem to be terribly particular about whom they're taking. The girls are taken away, now in a danger they never imagined. Will they be able to prove their innocence?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I think that this will be a very popular book in my library. My kids all love historical fiction and they especially like to read WWII books. The others by Skrypuch are popular and always checked out. They have connected stories, but for the most part, they were distant connections and it never felt like you had to read one before the other. This one seemed a bit differen Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own. I think that this will be a very popular book in my library. My kids all love historical fiction and they especially like to read WWII books. The others by Skrypuch are popular and always checked out. They have connected stories, but for the most part, they were distant connections and it never felt like you had to read one before the other. This one seemed a bit different. Maybe it's because of the timeline (this is after the war is over and the sisters are sent to a refugee camp), or because one of the characters was clearly a large part of an earlier story, but this one would have been EASIER to read if you had already read the others. If this is your first in the narrative, you can still understand and enjoy it, but it won't be as smooth as if you had all the background stories. Maria and Krystia have finally made it to the end of the war and feel safe in the American refugee camp. Until a group of Soviet soldiers appear one night and take what seems like a random group of survivors with them. This group is taken to the Soviet zone and sent to an interrogation house. From there, they don't know where they will be taken, but they fear it would to Siberia or somewhere worse. Maria and Krystia are determined to save themselves and their companions, but they aren't sure how they are going to outwit their captors. This is a good book for middle grade readers who might not be ready for heavier historical fiction about the time period. Also, the author's note at the end was very informative. Verdict: this is a strong first purchase for collections serving students in grades 5-8.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    Traitors Among Us is the third book in the story of Krystia and Maria Fediuk, two Ukrainian sisters who had been separated when the Nazis occupied their country beginning in 1942. Maria, who was then 11-years-old, had decided to leave their home in Viteretz to work in the German Reich and hopefully be able to send money home to her sister Krystia, then 12-years-old and mother. Now, it is June 1945, the war is over and the reunited sisters, Krystia, now 16, and Maria, now 14, have just arrived, e Traitors Among Us is the third book in the story of Krystia and Maria Fediuk, two Ukrainian sisters who had been separated when the Nazis occupied their country beginning in 1942. Maria, who was then 11-years-old, had decided to leave their home in Viteretz to work in the German Reich and hopefully be able to send money home to her sister Krystia, then 12-years-old and mother. Now, it is June 1945, the war is over and the reunited sisters, Krystia, now 16, and Maria, now 14, have just arrived, exhausted, at an American refugee camp in Karlsfeld, Germany and are feeling somewhat safe and hopeful for the first time in years. The girls are hoping to be able to travel to Toronto, Canada to live with their mother's sister Auntie Stefa and her husband Uncle George. But Krystia and Maria's initial feelings of safety are short lived when Sophie Huber arrives in their barracks using the name of Maria's friend Blanka Holata, who had done slave labor with Maria on the Huber farm. Sophie was a Hitler girl, and rather a staunch, cold-hearted believer in Hitler and his Reich. And, yes, when Russian soldiers show up at their barracks, kidnaping anyone they believe had betrayed the Soviet Union during the war, Sophie can't denounce Krystia and Maria as Nazi collaborators quickly enough in an attempt to save herself. An attempt that doesn't work - the Soviets know who she is and suspect her of being a Werewolf, part of an underground network of Hitler youth working to bring the Nazis back to power. Krystia and Maria find themselves in the back of a truck with a man, Elias, and his son Finn, a woman named Olga and her baby Piotr, as well as Sophie. Along the way, they learn that Elias and Finn are Volksdeutsche or ethnic Germans who originally lived in the Ukraine but were moved from their home by the Nazis in order to Germanize Poland early in their occupation of that country. Olga has British papers, but was arrested became her father had joined the White Army during the Russian Revolution, to fight the communist takeover, but Olga's husband had fought with the Nazis to defeat the Soviets (be sure to read the author's notes at the end for more historical information). Eventually, the truck arrives at an interrogation house in Soviet occupied Germany. And it doesn't take long for the Soviets to begin their interrogations, torture, and even stage a fake execution of Maria to get Krystia to sign a fake confession. When she continues to refuse to sign their confession, the Soviet soldiers finally let Maria go but tell her to report to the train station where she will be taken to a Soviet labor camp. Maria is taken in by Birgit, who lives in the basement of a bombed building. Birgit has been bringing food to the Soviets at the interrogation house hoping to eventually be able to rescue her grandson, Mychailo, being held prisoner there, too. With two prisoners released (Elias is also free, but not Finn), and four still being held and tortured, can a rescue attempt possible be successful in such a heavily guarded, locked and barb wired building? Traitors Among Us is a fascinating story and a great conclusion the the trilogy about Krystia and Maria. As she always does, Skrypuch brings a lot of history into her narrative that unravels so seamlessly while, at the same time, she weaves together a story that is readable, believable and so realistic. My only complaint is the same as Ms. Yingling's - it all ended to abruptly and I wanted to know more. But isn't that often a problem when great stories end? There are some graphic depictions in this novel, but only to the extent to give readers a real sense of what was happening at the time, yet not to such an extent that middle graders would be freaked out by it. I did like that in the middle of trying to save their lives and escape, Maria feels resentment at being treated like a helpless younger sister, and Krystia's constant need to protect her. Sibling resentments added an almost normal touch to their otherwise treacherous situation. I also loved how Maria used her sewing skills to make two pairs of underpants out of a Nazi flag - sort of like poetic justice. Just as the second book in this trilogy, Trapped in Hitler's Web, worked as a stand alone novel, thanks to Skrypuch's including just enough background information from the first book, Don't Tell the Nazis, Traitors Among Us also works as a stand alone novel, with just enough information from books 1 and 2, though I recommend reading all of them. They are just that good. I started Traitors Among Us one evening and sat up until about 3:30 AM reading to the end, because I couldn't put it down and needed to know what Krystia and Maria's fate was going to be. Traitors Among Us will be available September 7th, 2021, giving readers just enough time to read books 1 and 2 before then, if they haven't already. This book is recommended for readers age 9+ This book was an eARC received from Edelweiss+

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus After their Ukranian village is occupied by the Soviets and then the Nazis in Don't Tell the Nazis, and they manage to survive the war after leaving in Trapped in Hitler's Web, sisters Krystia and Maria are relieved to be in a refugee camp in the American Zone in 1945 and hope to soon be with their aunt in Canada. Their relief is short lived; Sophie Huber is also in the camp, and tells soldiers that the two girls are Nazi collaborators. The Red Army are all too re E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus After their Ukranian village is occupied by the Soviets and then the Nazis in Don't Tell the Nazis, and they manage to survive the war after leaving in Trapped in Hitler's Web, sisters Krystia and Maria are relieved to be in a refugee camp in the American Zone in 1945 and hope to soon be with their aunt in Canada. Their relief is short lived; Sophie Huber is also in the camp, and tells soldiers that the two girls are Nazi collaborators. The Red Army are all too ready to believe this, and happy to arrest the girls and torture them to get information. They do this with others as well, including Sophie, and many sign confessions that are untrue to make the torture stop, or in the belief that once they confess, they will be released. This is not the case, and the girls are glad they did not sign confessions. After the soldiers stage a fake execution to try to get Krystia to confess, Maria is let go with orders to report to a Soviet work camp. Instead, she is helped by Birgit, who hides her, feeds her, and helps her wash up and get new clothing so that she looks like one of the locals. Along with father and son Elias and Finn, the group works together to get Krystia and Mychailo out of the prison, tempting guards with Linzer cookies spiked with sleeping powder. From there, the sisters must try to make it to the American zone and hope that they will be sent on to Canada to resettle. Strengths: It still surprises me how many different WWII stories there are out there, so it makes sense that there are just as many stories about experiences after the war. I didn't know the details about the Red Army and their treatment of prisoners; there is a lot of brutal torture in this; it's not like Moskin's I am Rosemarie (1972) where the war ends, prisoners are released from concentration camps, and they walkout into the sunshine. The sisters' relationship is strong but strained at times, and their survival skills are top notch. My favorite scene was when Maria is given German clothing and must sew an outfit for herself, making a jumper from a Hitler Youth girl's uniform skirt, a blouse from a ball gown, and woolen underpants from a Nazi flag! The details about the lack of food, the difficulty in traveling, and the kind people they meet in their journey all make this an enthralling read. Weaknesses: This ended a bit abruptly and went to an epilogue. I guess I was so invested in the story that I wanted to know more. What I really think: There are not that many books covering the aftermath of the Holocaust; Matas' After the War (1996) and The Garden (1997) and Whelan's After the Train (2009) as well as the nonfiction Waisman and McClelland's Boy from Buchenwald (2021) as well as Skrypuch's own Stolen Girl (2019), so it's good to see the conclusion of Krystia and Maria's story. I do wish that the publishers had an official name for this trilogy!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Scholastic books generously provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The key to not repeating history is to ensure that all people including children have a clear understanding of what happened during World War II. What’s interesting about this particular World War II era novel, is that we see the situation from the perspective of displaced Ukrainians.  In Traitors Among Us, the war has ended and Maria and Krystia have found themselves in an American Displaced Persons Camp.  They are uns Scholastic books generously provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The key to not repeating history is to ensure that all people including children have a clear understanding of what happened during World War II. What’s interesting about this particular World War II era novel, is that we see the situation from the perspective of displaced Ukrainians.  In Traitors Among Us, the war has ended and Maria and Krystia have found themselves in an American Displaced Persons Camp.  They are unsure where they will end up but know they have to stick together in order to be sent to their Aunt and Uncle in North America.  Rather than being safe, they are accused of being spies and whisked off to a Soviet Camp and thrown in jail. Traitors Among Us is a harrowing tale of the often overlooked war refugees that were stuck in Soviet areas.  Often beaten and tortured, hundreds of people had no escape from the Soviets who considered anyone not supporting the Red Army to be the enemy.  The two sisters find allies and plot a daring escape from the Soviets but are hampered by not knowing anyone and having to trust strangers for their survival. For me, this was surprising aspect of World War II that I never knew about.  Refugees who were just trying to survive and return to their war torn countries were subject to horrible treatment by the Soviets, which included brutality or being shipping off to labor camps and gulags.  Children weren’t immune and we see the struggle for survival in a post war civilization through the eyes of two girls who have lost everything and everyone they love. The relationship between the sisters is compelling, however, their backstory isn't fleshed out enough. For instance we know they were separated from their family but we don't get much detail about what their lives were like before the war. It’s definitely helpful to have some knowledge of World War II before reading this novel as it starts off post war in an American Displacement Camp which was infinitely different from the Soviet camps.  Eventually the American military halted the process of letting Soviets take refugees and the author provides more context in the end notes. Traitors Among Us is a must read for children who wish to learn more about the people who were focused on putting their lives back together post WWII.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch states in the author’s note that Traitors Among Us “is a tribute to those who went from Hitler’s frying pan into Stalin’s fire.” The succinct analogy applies to her earlier trilogy that began with Making Bombs For Hitler as well as this threesome that chronicles the wartime lives of sisters Krystia and Maria. Freedom fighting for the girls has taken many forms as they struggled not only to survive, but to help as many as they could along their long road to a new life in C Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch states in the author’s note that Traitors Among Us “is a tribute to those who went from Hitler’s frying pan into Stalin’s fire.” The succinct analogy applies to her earlier trilogy that began with Making Bombs For Hitler as well as this threesome that chronicles the wartime lives of sisters Krystia and Maria. Freedom fighting for the girls has taken many forms as they struggled not only to survive, but to help as many as they could along their long road to a new life in Canada with Mama’s sister. Skrypuch’s own family ties to the wartime experiences of those living in Ukraine add a poignancy to her works that is not present in similar WWII historical fiction which transforms them from solid choices for readers of the genre to excellent ones. Readers will be caught up in the exciting stories of her characters as they fight against two evil regimes in a variety of ways and their knowledge of the history of this time will grow tremendously. Highly recommended for grades 5 and up, and with the sensitive coverage of the gruesome aspects of this war, could even be a part of collections geared to 4th grade as well. Thanks for the dARC, Edelweiss.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Sherrard

    Sisters Krystia and Maria believe the worst is over at last. Reunited after harrowing ordeals during WWII, this story begins with them housed in a refugee camp, daring to hope they are finally safe. But more horrors await as they are falsely accused of being Nazi collaborators and imprisoned in a Soviet interrogation facility. There, they will face starvation, torture and even the threat of death as their captors try to force confessions from them. Through it all, each girl draws on strengths fr Sisters Krystia and Maria believe the worst is over at last. Reunited after harrowing ordeals during WWII, this story begins with them housed in a refugee camp, daring to hope they are finally safe. But more horrors await as they are falsely accused of being Nazi collaborators and imprisoned in a Soviet interrogation facility. There, they will face starvation, torture and even the threat of death as their captors try to force confessions from them. Through it all, each girl draws on strengths from her upbringing and past experiences in the struggle to resist, survive and find a way to freedom. Another remarkable and compelling story, the latest in Marsha Skrypuch's exceptional historical novels.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    I did not realize that this was the 3rd book in a series about sisters Krystia & Maria Fediuk until after I have finished it. It reads as a stand alone. I really enjoyed this book and finished it in one sitting; I simply could not put it down. Krystia & Maria have survived WWII, but are now orphans. They have made it to a camp in the American Zone and are waiting to hear back from their aunt in Canada so they can go live with her. Then the Soviet soldiers come and take them to the Soviet Zone to I did not realize that this was the 3rd book in a series about sisters Krystia & Maria Fediuk until after I have finished it. It reads as a stand alone. I really enjoyed this book and finished it in one sitting; I simply could not put it down. Krystia & Maria have survived WWII, but are now orphans. They have made it to a camp in the American Zone and are waiting to hear back from their aunt in Canada so they can go live with her. Then the Soviet soldiers come and take them to the Soviet Zone to be interrogated as traitors. The soviets also took a father & son, a young mother and her toddler, and Sophie, a girl from their past. They must all work together to try to escape and get back to the American Zone. I believe this Historical Fiction Survival story would be enjoyed by students as young as 5th grade.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mateusz

    Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is one of Canada’s most prolific authors of historical fiction for children and young adults. The last book in her second WWII trilogy is another exceptional read. While most anglophone WWII books focus on the Nazi atrocities, Skrypuch shows her readers that Eastern Europe was trapped between two antagonistic regimes. Like all or her books, “Traitors” is meticulously researched and historically accurate. I highly recommend it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    kim baccellia

    Powerful, heart-wrenching historical that takes place right after WWII. Heart-pounding action as the sisters learn that they need to rely on each other in order to survive being held by Soviet troops. A very satisfying addition to other Scholastic books in the Making Bombs for Hitler trilogy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Evangeline C

    Thanks Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch for a great addition to the series! Very educational

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    Well written. WWII. Ukrainian. Nazi. Child torture. Graphic. Not for younger kids at all. Putting up a note for parents to chat with me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Davis

  14. 4 out of 5

    Noemie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dina

  17. 4 out of 5

    Molly Schroeder

  18. 5 out of 5

    Urve Tamberg

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ashlee Pendleton

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elysa

  21. 4 out of 5

    Abhilasha Goyal

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gracie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Simmons

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kari Healy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsay

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ava Greenwell

  28. 5 out of 5

    Giavannathebookworm

  29. 4 out of 5

    Reilly

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lacey Neset

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