Zail, whose memoir The Tattooed Flower recounted how her father survived the Holocaust, poignantly conveys Hanna’s mounting losses… An elegant, disturbing portrait of one of history’s bleakest moments, offset by the subversive power of love.
Zail’s story is as gut-wrenching as any Holocaust tale, particularly when, upon their liberation by Russian troops, Hanna discovers that her own dehumanizing experiences in the labor camp were nothing compared to the barbarity that occurred in the extermination camps. The haunting, matter-of-fact tone of Hanna’s story will likely resonate with teens learning about the Holocaust.
Hanna’s story is reminiscent of such classics as Aranka Siegal’s Upon the Head of the Goat (1981). … With fewer living Holocaust survivors each year, it’s increasingly important to tell their story, and this is one.
Readers also feel the pressure as Hanna tries to please the commandant while witnessing his brutality. … The novel will appeal to a wide range of readers.
—Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
—School Library Journal