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Front lines /

"1942, World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die. The Nazis rampage across Europe and eye far-off America. The green, untested American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled--the armed forces of Nazi... Full description

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers ; 2016
Edition: First edition.
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SUMMARY

Perfect for fans of The Book Thief and Code Name Verity, New 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.


Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In many ways, Grant's latest feels like an old-fashioned war novel it begins with the soon-to-be soldiers at home, worrying about what they are going to face, and saying good-bye to family. Then they arrive at boot camp, building both combat skills and bonhomie. Finally, they find themselves in the thick of it, unprepared for the gravity of death, both witnessing it and serving it, while tapping heretofore unknown reserves of fortitude, resilience, and stony-eyed vengeance. The only difference, and it's a big one, is that women are in the battle ranks. Though women are not yet being conscripted in this alternate history of WWII, Rio, Jenou, Frangie, and Rainy sign up anyway. Rio's feeling a bit listless after her sister dies in the battle of Pearl Harbor, and her best friend, Jenou, makes a convincing case for signing up. Jenou says she wants to meet handsome officers, though in truth, she is desperate to escape her rocky home life. Frangie, an African American girl in Oklahoma, sees enlisting as an opportunity to get medical training she otherwise wouldn't be eligible for. Jewish Rainy is smart, capable, fluent in German, and wants to kill Nazis. Just because women are permitted to enlist, however, doesn't mean they are treated any more fairly. It's abundantly clear that Grant has done an impressive amount of research, not only into battle movements and period details which are exhaustive, vivid, and clearly, grippingly written but also the prevailing attitudes. In keeping with the historical period, the women face down plenty of prejudice, and Grant doesn't shy away from ugly language, particularly regarding Frangie, who endures a deluge of hateful slurs and more than one threat of rape. While there are enough military men open to women in their ranks, enlisting alone can't change deeply ingrained beliefs. There's no magical eraser for racism or misogyny here, except the rigors of the battlefield, where they prove their mettle. The history is certainly illuminating and fascinating, but where Grant excels even more is in the tight, propulsive, and immersive storytelling and compelling bonds among the multifaceted characters. Grant alternates among the four young women, interspersing their stories with letters and news bulletin-like summaries of historical events, framing the whole thing with commentary from the unnamed narrator, who sits typing the story in a military hospital, offering brief glimpses of the near future. Most of the pages are dedicated to Rio and Jenou, who blessedly get to stay together, ending up in a mixed-company platoon in North Africa. Rainy leaves New York with a stopover in intelligence training before heading to Tunisia to translate incoming communiqués. Frangie heads to North Africa as a medic with an all-black battalion. Finally, the four women meet at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, grittier, bloodier, and tougher than when they set out. Though it's an epic story with a page count to match, the dynamic characters and urgent plot never get lost in the enormity of the historical moment. Grant's writing is remarkably tidy, cultivating a staggering amount of feeling out of only a few lines, and imbuing each figure with such depth and personality that, even if a character gets less than two total pages of attention, his or her death is utterly, completely devastating. This is a story about soldiers, and those soldiers never take a backseat to history. Given current headlines about women in combat, it's natural to assume this novel has an agenda, but Grant trumpets no cause, and while he makes a huge change to WWII history, he so unobtrusively weaves it throughout the story it's easy to forget that, except in a few special cases, women weren't fighting alongside men. Rio and Jenou drink and smoke and trash talk just as much as the men in their company, and while there are a few flutters of romance, they are always superseded by the grim realities of battle. If their concerns occasionally seem girlish, it's because they are girls, and the boys, frankly, are no different. Grant treats each of those youthful, terrified, sensitive moments with deep compassion each soldier has the capacity to be petty, brave, scared, witty, ruthless, and emotional. Just as classic war novels demonstrate how war can reveal common humanity, Grant's exploration of women in battle is no different. Fraught as it is with terror, fighting together breeds deep loyalty, regardless of gender.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this skillfully imagined alternate history, Grant (the Messenger of Fear series) envisions a 1940 lawsuit that leads to the draft and the right to enlist being extended to women. He then follows three teenagers who enlist after Pearl Harbor through basic training and on to North Africa. Rio Richlin, an aimless small-town girl, feels moved to enlist after her older sister dies in the war, and is joined by her boy-crazy friend Jenou Castain. African-American Frangie Marr, who dreams of becoming a doctor, enlists to help support her disabled father. And as a Jewish New Yorker, Rainy Schulterman needs little excuse to join the fight against Hitler. Grant pulls no punches about the sexism, racism, and violence his characters encounter. All of the protagonists are well-developed individuals, but also represent "every soldier girl who carried a rifle, dug a hole, slogged through mud, steamed or froze, prayed or cursed, raged or feared, ran away or ran toward." This gripping and heart-wrenching tale, which promises a sequel, is particularly apropos considering the Armed Forces' current reconsideration of the role of women in combat. Ages 14-up. Agent: Steve Sheppard, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-This imaginative alternate history novel is told from the point of view of young women who enlist in the military during World War II. A court case decides that women can serve in the military and be drafted before World War II happens, and in the throes of war, teens from a range of backgrounds, religions, and races enlist for very different reasons. Though it is a lengthy tome, the story flies by and teens will stay engaged as they read the alternating women's perspectives and stories-from boot camp to assignments to actual war on the front lines. Grant does not sugarcoat the racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism that was so matter-of-fact in America at that time, so there is plenty of strong language. The main characters are all well-drawn, strong women, and the wartime events are well researched and accurate, even within the context of the alternate history plotline. Though the length may put some teen readers off, the alternative history and wartime plot, which reads like a movie, will appeal to many. VERDICT A first purchase for every teen collection, and an interesting series opener.-Heather Massa, East Rockaway Public Library, NY © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
AUTHOR NOTES

Michael Grant is the co-creator and co-author of the Animorphs series and the Everworld series with his wife K. A. Applegate. They have written around 150 books. He is the author of the Gone series and The Magnificent 12 series.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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