Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant


Soldier Girl #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: ARC Trade
Pages: 576

Summary (from Goodreads):

Perfect for fans of The Book Thief and Code Name VerityNew York Times bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, genre-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

This book is an alternate history where women are allowed to be drafted and enlist to fight in World War II. The story follows three different girls from different backgrounds who all join the army for very different reasons.

The story mainly follows Rio Richlin, a white girl from Northern California who enlists in the army along with her friend Jenou Castain. Jenou has her sights set on a cushy desk job where she can meet a handsome officer to marry after the war is over. Rio aimlessly follows her friend, thinking maybe she can get a job driving a truck. But she quickly excels in basic training and earns the status of sharpshooter. I really liked Rio, she's quick and sweet, and can easily make people laugh.

Frangie Marr is a young black girl from Oklahoma who enlists so she can help her family who have no source of income because her dad can't work. With her background of patching up wounded stray animals, she joins with hopes of becoming a field medic. 

Finally, Rainy Schulterman is a Jewish girl from New York City who enlists because she wants to kill some Germans. She works in intelligence. She's kinda sassy and really smart and I really liked her.

While you get to see how each one of these very different girls deals with sexism in the army in the 1940's, you also get to see how racism and anti-Semitism are handled, which I found to be interesting.

There is a little bit of romance in this story, but it is not a really big part of the story. Rio has a thing going with a boy from back home who got drafted to be an air man. Beyond that, there really isn't too much romance in this book, which is totally fine.

I really loved the writing of this book. I love WWII historical fiction, so this was awesome. There was a lot of attention paid to sexism, racism, and anti-semitism in the army, which I thought was great. It went to show what each very different girl's experience was like dealing with those issues.

The book kind of developed slowly. Not in a bad way, I didn't think. It goes through what made each girl decide to enlist and what their families thought of their decisions. Then it goes through each one's training experiences and finally how they deal with actually being in the war. So a lot of the action didn't really happen until closer to the end of the book. And this is a pretty long book, but I didn't feel like anything in it was really unnecessary to the story.

The ending isn't really a cliffhanger, but not a lot is resolved. The particular battle that they were fighting is resolved, but that's about it. The whole story is narrated by an unknown girl soldier. You don't find out who she is in this book, but she gives you clues as to where our characters will end up in the next books and gives you hope that you'll find out things that you want to see resolved. I liked that it was narrated like this, I thought it was interesting.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book! If you're like me and you like WWII historical fiction, you'll probably like this. Or if you really liked Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, I think you'll like this as well.

2 comments:

  1. This one sounds so good! I really like how it's a unique take on history. I'm definitely going to give this one a read.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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    Replies
    1. It was really, really good! It's really quite unfair that I have to wait until next year to see how the rest of it goes! I want to know now!

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