The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II (Paperback)

The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II By Amanda McCrina Cover Image
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(Young Adult Fiction)


A mesmerizing historical novel of suspense and intrigue about a teenage girl who risks everything to save her missing brother.

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.

Tightly woven, relentlessly intense, The Silent Unseen depicts an explosive entanglement of loyalty, lies, and love during wartime, from Amanda McCrina, the acclaimed author of Traitor, a debut hailed by Elizabeth Wein as “Alive with detail and vivid with insight . . . a piercing and bittersweet story.”

About the Author

Amanda McCrina is a writer, historian, and bookseller. She holds a degree in history and political science from the University of West Georgia. Her novels include Traitor, The Silent Unseen—named a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year 2022—and I'll Tell You No Lies, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee.

Praise For…

School Library Journal Best Young Adult Books of the Year
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year

“McCrina soars in her writing as she depicts this complicated piece of forgotten history. Well researched, accurate, and smartly written, this is a page-turner, weaving together the horrors of war and its psychological consequences beautifully. With a touch of romance thrown in, this suspenseful thriller is . . . a must-buy.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“[A] well-researched, thrilling account of two teens in 1944 Poland . . . Clever plot twists highlight this fast-moving tale of espionage, loyalty, and survival, plus a budding romance. Readers will no doubt be drawn to the Ukrainian element, given current events, and better appreciate that country's situation in light of its history.” —Booklist

“Fierce and astonishing. It has the sweep and scale of a big historical novel, yet is filled with exquisite nuances that make this a powerfully affecting work. You will finish The Silent Unseen glad for what you have heard and seen in this quietly devastating yet ultimately uplifting novel.” —Andrew Fukuda, author of This Light Between Us

“Taut, twisting, and eloquently gritty, The Silent Unseen brings the shifting realities of post-war Europe to harrowing, heartbreaking life.” —Sharon Cameron, author of The Light in Hidden Places and Bluebird

“Maria and Kostya are complex characters with realistic romantic chemistry, maintaining different agendas and using lies to get what they want in a world where surviving is more important than romance . . . A historical, high-stakes novel with a fitting romantic subplot.” —The Bulletin

Vividly wrought. ” —Publishers Weekly

“McCrina paints a vivid post-war world that expertly shows the true and ugly complexities of conflict, told in such a gripping way that readers will race through each page to find out the fate of characters that quickly become beloved . . . She is a master of YA historical fiction.” —Cindy Otis, former CIA analyst and author of True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News and At the Speed of Lies

The Silent Unseen is an exquisite tale filled with terror and beauty on every page. McCrina’s fully-realized characters search for moments of mercy amidst their desperate circumstances, and find compassion for their enemies in the face of great suffering. A powerful piece of WWII history that is richly and painfully brought to life.” —Carolyn Tara O’Neil, author of Daughters of a Dead Empire

The Silent Unseen transported me to a corner of Eastern Europe during World War II and its forgotten slice of history. With the two main characters pitted against each other and the reader immediately pulling for both of them, this fast-paced story drew me in from the first page and refused to let go. Absolutely riveting.” —Kip Wilson, author of White Rose and The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin

“A haunting gem of a story, steeped in sorrow and hope. McCrina draws you into a perilous world of heartbreak and hope—and keeps you ensnared until the very last page.” —Cory Anderson, author of What Beauty There Is

The Silent Unseen is a historical fiction that is both incredibly immersive and well researched. McCrina has spun a haunting and captivating tale.” —June Hur, author of The Silence of Bones, The Forest of Stolen Girls, and The Red Palace

Praise for Traitor:

“Alive with detail and vivid with insight, Traitor is an effortlessly immersive account of a shocking and little-known moment in the turbulent history of Poland and Ukraine—and ironically, a piercing and bittersweet story of unflinching loyalty. I think Tolya has left my heart a little damaged forever.” —Elizabeth Wein, #1 New York Times–Bestselling Author of Code Name Verity and The Enigma Game

“A complex plot full of double crosses and unexpected alliances . . . Deftly explores poignant questions about the nature of loyalty in desperate circumstances.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Nonstop action and intrigue keeps readers on the edges of their seats and makes this a great title to hand to those looking for a meatier historical novel.” —School Library Journal

“Fans of Wein’s Code Name Verity won’t want to miss this powerful story about the desperate actions we take in the name of loyalty and survival.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250866592
ISBN-10: 1250866596
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: September 12th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English