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Historical Thriller Set in the Cold War Era: I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES Book Review

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

I'll Tell You No Lies is a riveting YA novel of the Cold War era about a girl in post-World War II America who becomes entangled with an escaped Soviet pilot and must learn to decipher truth from lies.

Today, I'm happy to review I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES by Amanda McCrina. Thank you Macmillian Publishers for the book and Turn the Page Book Tours for the opportunity to get the book. Find out more about this historical thriller set in the Cold War era below and be sure to enter the giveaway.


3d book I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES by Amanda McCrina

About the Book:


Author: Amanda McCrina

Publisher: Macmillan Publishers

Pub Date: 8/1/2023

Genre: Young Adult Historical Thriller

Page Count: 224

Ages: 12 - 18

From Amanda McCrina, the acclaimed author of Traitor and The Silent Unseen, I'll Tell You No Lies is a riveting YA novel of the Cold War era about a girl in post-World War II America who becomes entangled with an escaped Soviet pilot and must learn to decipher truth from lies.

New York, 1955. Eighteen-year-old Shelby Blaine and her father, an Air Force intelligence officer, have just been wrenched away from their old life in West Germany to New York’s Griffiss Air Force Base, where he has been summoned to lead the interrogation of an escaped Soviet pilot. Still in shock from the car accident that killed her mother barely a month earlier, Shelby struggles with her grief, an emotionally distant father, and having to start over in a new home.

Then a chance meeting with Maksym, the would-be defector, spirals into a deadly entanglement, as the pilot’s cover story is picked apart and he attempts to escape his military and intelligence handlers—with Shelby caught in the middle. The more she learns of Maksym’s secrets, including his detention at Auschwitz during the war, the more she becomes willing to help him. But as the stakes become more dangerous, Shelby begins to question everything she has been told, even by her fugitive friend. Allies turn into enemies, and the truth is muddled by lies. Can she trust a traitor with her life, or will it be the last mistake she ever makes?


I give I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES by Amanda McCrina ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!

"I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES" is a gripping historical fiction novel set in Rome, New York, during the height of the Cold War in 1955. Drawing inspiration from real-life stories of cold war espionage intrigue, such as Alfred Dean Slack, the book delves into the dark world of fear and how it can bring out the worst in us.

The story revolves around a fictional character named Shelby Blaine, whose father is an Air Force Intelligence Officer. Readers are taken on a thrilling journey through her eyes as she becomes entangled in the high-stakes world of espionage and defection. The novel's central plot is inspired by the true stories of MiG pilots, such as Franciszek Jarecki from Poland and No Kum-Sok from North Korea, who defected to the United States during the Cold War.

One of the book's strongest aspects is its ability to educate readers about the history of Russian and Ukrainian relations during that era. The story sheds light on the brutal treatment and imprisonment of individuals by the Russians and Germans after World War II, which has relevance to the current conflict and bitter rivalry between Ukraine and Russia. The author's meticulous research and portrayal of historical events add depth and authenticity to the narrative.

The novel excels in keeping readers on the edge of their seats with its numerous twists and turns. The fast-paced and action-packed plot makes it a thrilling read for young adults and even middle-grade students. However, despite the historical backdrop, the author skillfully weaves in universal themes of loyalty, courage, and sacrifice, making it a compelling story for readers of all ages. There is also a sweet love story between Shelby and Maksym, the refuge pilot, which adds to the thread of secrets and lies.

Moreover, "I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES" is an excellent supplement for World History and English classes in middle and high schools. It seamlessly blends history with fiction, providing a unique opportunity for students to engage with significant events of the Cold War era while enjoying a captivating narrative.

For book clubs, this novel offers a wealth of discussion points, including historical context, character development, and moral dilemmas faced by the protagonists. It allows readers to explore the complexities of human nature and the impact of fear on decision-making in the face of espionage and betrayal.

In conclusion, "I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES" is a great book that masterfully combines historical accuracy, thrilling espionage, and engaging storytelling. It serves not only as an entertaining read but also as a valuable educational tool, making it highly recommended for both classrooms and book clubs. Whether you are interested in history, espionage, or a gripping tale of intrigue, this novel has something to offer every reader.

Amanda McCrina

About the Author:

Amanda McCrina was homeschooled through high school and graduated from the University of West Georgia with a BA in history and political science. For three years, she taught high school English and government at an international school in Madrid, Spain, and is now a bookseller in Franklin, Tennessee. She is the author of Traitor, The Silent Unseen, and I'll Tell You No Lies.


One hardcopy of I'LL TELL YOU NO LIES by Amanda McCrina

US residents only; ends on 8/31/23


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