It’s always challenging to find young adult books without your stereotypical story. Each time I think I have found something new, up pops that same High School drama. Because I am so familiar with these types of books, when I do find something new (or even slightly new) , I become completely engrossed within the pages. I found this book to be a little more original, and became excited reading it.
Michael Grant writes about an alternate history where women could enlist during World War II. I immediately found this intriguing. The narrator follows the stories of three young women, whom are still young and somewhat naive, through the war. Let’s start with Rio.
Rio is seventeen and tall for her age. She lives in a small town called Gedwell Falls. She has strong shoulders from being the daughter of a farmer. She’s one of those girls who gets good grades, is shy, and doesn’t talk back. Her sister was killed by the “Japs”, which causes Rio to enlist. She wants revenge. This is a bold move for her because of her shy, quiet demeanor. Next up is Frangie.
Frangie is a black girl who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma . She’s a small for her 17 years. Her father had an accident and is unable to work. She enlists to save her family from absolute poverty. When she enlists she plans to become a medic. Now for Rainy.
Rainy enlists because she wants to serve her country. She wants to prove herself. Her family is Jewish, and because of this, one can guess her feeling towards the Germans. She plans to work in army intelligence.
But their enlistment processes/reasons aren’t the whole story. This book deals with the horrors of war and hard-to-answer questions, like: What is it like to see your friend die in front of your very eyes? What is it like to deal with the harsh sexism and racism of the 1940s?
Over all, this book had an dynamic plot and was conceptually intriguing. I found it especially wonderful that even though Michael Grant is a man, he did a very good job portraying his female characters. This is a must read book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.