Series: Soldier Girl #1
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Page Length: 576 Pages
Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ARC via publisher
ABOUT 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.
I usually avoid reading WWII novels, whether they are young adult or non-fiction, because I don’t like how they all seem to emphasize on the brutality that humans can inflict on one another during war. But when I saw Front Lines blog tour invitation, with the concept of women fighting alongside men, it intrigued me and I knew that I needed to read it.
Since the book is split into two parts, training and war, my review is going to discuss each part individually. In the first part we are reading from the points of view from three very different characters from different social and economic back grounds.
Rio Richlin is a farm girl from Northern California who has spent her whole life in her little small town with her best friend Jenou. Us “gentle readers” read mostly from her point of view, and watch her go from a high school student at a crossroad in her life to a soldier on the front lines. Rio constantly has to deal with the sexism that isperpetrated by her superiors and fellow soldiers; who tell her that she shouldn’t be fighting, a woman’s place is at home, etc. She was my favorite character for many reasons but mostly because she proved that women could be good soldiers as well. Plus she’s hilarious!
Tilo Suarez grins at Rio and says, “Tilo Suarez. But you can call me handsome.”
“But then you’d have to be handsome,” Rio says, deadpan. “Otherwise it would be like I was mocking you.”
Frangie Marr is an African American medic who joined the war to support her family financially. It was very difficult for me to read her chapters for two reasons; first of all she is a medic which means lots of injuries and there were moments where I was so grossed out that I had to close the book. I’ve said this before but, it’s very hard for me to stomach vivid descriptions of injuries. The second reason was because of the racism directed towards her, it was quite shocking to see the slurs that she had to endure. The author really did an excellent job addressing the issue of racism directed towards not only African Americans but also to the Japanese and Jews during this time period.
Rainy Schulterman was of higher ranking than the other two main characters because worked in intelligence. Which I thought was really interesting since it showed us a different side of the war. We go from battlefield training, to medical training, and now to intercepting codes and becoming a strategist. There she had to deal with antisemitism by her superiors who felt that because of her heritage and sex made her weak. I loved how she proved the men wrong with her intelligence so while she may not have had to be training for battle she did have obstacles to overcome. Although I do wish that we had been able to read more from her perspective.
In the second half of the book is where we see all of the character growth, the young women are now just starting to realize the severity of war. I can’t go into details because it will ruin the book. But I will say that I was scared to start reading part two, because I didn’t want any of the characters to be hurt. That just goes to show you the brilliance of the authors writing, that the characterization is so spot on that you have a connection with all of the characters that makes you feel like you’re right there with them in battle. My only complaint is that I wish that there was a glossary for all of the military machinery that was being described because it difficult for me visualize battle scenes with out knowing what was being used.
Overall, while this may be a work of fiction, an alternate history, it does address social issues that are just as prevalent now as they were 70 years ago, such as sexism and racism. I laughed, I cried with the characters and was pleasantly surprised on how it focuses on the soldier girls rather than it being just another depressing WWII ya novel. I can’t wait for the sequel and I will soon be reading the other works of Micheal Grant. This is definitely a 5 star book to add to your TBR.
Thank you so much Harper Collins and the Irish Bananas Tours for providing me with a physical copy for review. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must state that I received this book for free and was in no way compensated for my review.
ABOUT MICHAEL GRANT:
Okay, trying this again. Goodreads lost the bio I just spent 30 minutes writing. So now it’s just going to be incoherent rambling. Yes, the earlier draft was also incoherent rambling, but way better.
I’m the co-author or author of about 160 books, including the ANIMORPHS series, the GONE series, the BZRK series, the MAGNIFICENT 12 series (Mommy, make him stop saying series!), the MESSENGER OF FEAR series, and soon (well, eventually) the SOLDIER GIRL series.
The best way to reach me is at Twitter @MichaelGrantBks. I’ll be honest: I keep forgetting there’s mail here. Here’s the thing: I don’t have an assistant or a staff. I would, but then I’d have to hire someone and train someone and give them stuff to do, and relate to them as a human being, possibly even care about them. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
But if my handle is in the Tweet, I read it. And once or twice a week I go on at random times to chat with fans. I love my fans, but it’s either be honest with you and be my actual self on Twitter, or fob you off on some assistant, and how would that be better? I already have my father-in-law handling email from my ancient website. I’d rather be harder to write to but really be me, and really talk to you, if that makes sense.
Honestly, if it was up to me and I had the time we could all just hang out at random Starbucks. Or if you’re over 21, a pleasant cocktail lounge perhaps. At some point there would be ice cream. There must always, at some point in the day, be ice cream.
I also have a personal Facebook page at AuthorMichaelGrant, but that’s limited to 5000 friends and apparently I actually have that many. Who knew? But I leave it public so if I have something to say I’ll do it there.
I hope you’ll give my books a try. If you don’t like one, that’s cool, I don’t like every book I read, either. But maybe give them a try. People seem to like them.
Now, my publishers want me to sell you on my stuff, so I’ll do two brags: 1) Everything I write is like nothing you’ve ever read before in young adult literature. I don’t copy, I don’t imitate, I don’t clone. 2) I know how to end a series.
And that’s my advertisement. Thank you.
3 Finished Copies of FRONT LINES (US Only)