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Race Traitor by Elisa Hategan
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Race Traitor

by Elisa Hategan

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I found it difficult to become truly captivated by this novel, until I got about a third of the way through. The second half of the book was definitely more interesting and was easier to read, as I wasn't so thoroughly disgusted by all that Lara simply chose to ignore. I would recommend Race Traitor to fans of political thrillers. Though disturbing, it was an intriguing and thought-provoking read. ( )
  madamediotte | Jul 7, 2013 |
Young Lara's life didn't get better when her family left Romania for America. Leaving her alcoholic mother in Chicago at age 15, Lara finds herself with a new family: The Patriot Front. Learning how to shoot and blow up things is fun for any teenager. They make Lara feel needed and wanted and then she learns what they are really up to and tries to help break the group up. The story is well written and smooth, but being a kid from the streets some of it sounded too good to be true. I did enjoy the fact that in all the action there was not too much gratuatis radio All in all it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in the sun. ( )
  Scoshie | Oct 13, 2012 |
Elisa Hategan's Race Traitor is a thriller in first person about a teenage girl named Larissa who gets recruited by a white supremacist group called the Patriot Front. When the brutal repercussions of her involvement become too obvious to deny, she defects to the other side. Larissa's allies are a district attorney, a tough female cop she falls in love with, and a fierce old alcoholic who heads an underground anti-racist group. Soon Larissa's on the run from jack-booted Patriots out to kill her for deserting, and she must defend herself with all the guerilla tactics they taught her.
Race Traitor is a good read with a big-bang ending. Although the plot escalates to action-movie levels, I liked Race Traitor best when it followed Larissa's solitary trail. She's homeless, lonely, cold, hungry, friendless, and hunted. This part of the book rings true, probably because it's an existence to which so many can personally relate. I also liked the book's treatment of Larissa's recruitment into the Patriot Front. They all seem so friendly, welcoming, and eerily reasonable. I've heard actual defectors of terrorist groups describe how they became so involved in the first place, and it was just the same way. I'm not surprised these elements of the novel feel so authentic because Race Traitor is based on the author's life experience. I plan to Google Elisa Hategan to see if I can find interviews relating to her life, because I think they would be fascinating. ( )
  naimahaviland | Oct 16, 2011 |
Race traitor gives a fascinating and terrifying portrait of how easily disaffected youth can be drawn into organizations like the right wing Patriot Front portrayed in this novel. This is a well-written story about the recruitment and behaviour of far-right organizations.

However, this almost seemed like two stories. The first half of the book was extremely believable. Sixteen-year-old Larissa, an immigrant from Romania is an easy target for recruitment into the far-right group the Patriot Front. Due to her intelligence and, to a certain extent, her gender, she quickly rises to become a star of the movement. However, eventually she becomes disaffected by the violence and eventually agrees to testify against the group, leading to a murder trial of one of the leaders. I was completely caught up in this half of the book and couldn't stop reading.

However, the second half seemed less believable as Larissa is forced into hiding and is soon in danger from not only the far right but the CIA and a past girlfriend. The book became less expose and more political thriller. Don't get me wrong - it was still a terrific read - but it just didn't have the same patina of realism as the first half.

Still, at this time when so many of our liberties are being sacrificed in the name of law and order and the possibility of terrorism, this book has an important message and I can't recommend it highly enough. ( )
1 vote lostinalibrary | Oct 8, 2011 |
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