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I Belong

Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant

Front LinesTitle: Front Lines

AuthorMichael Grant

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Series: Solider Girl (Book #1)

Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 576 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062342150 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062342157 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: World War Two reimagined had females been allowed to enlist, with a nice blend of suspense, terror, wit, and diverse characters.

Opening Sentence: 1942

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Rio Richlin is from a small town, eager to do her part in the war her sister died for. Rainy has goals of revenge on her mind, and aims to be at the top of the intelligence forces. Then there is Frankie, an African American girl aiming to be a medic and bring home enough money for her family to eat. All three enlist in the army. All three have no idea of what they’re in for.

One of the things that I love about book blogging is the fact that I get introduced to genres that I otherwise never would’ve read. I started Dark Faerie Tales two years ago, I used to only read sci-fi and dystopian novels. I would get worried when I saw genres like contemporary and historical fiction because they weren’t what I was be interested in, but now they’re some of my favorite books to read. I love it when authors put their own personal twist on historical events that happened years ago. Front Lines is no exception to this trend. It’s such a cool idea to reinvent World War II with girls enlisted, and although I felt like the end was a tad bit rushed, the diverse array of characters and depth to the novel made for a book that I don’t think you should miss.

We have a cast of exceptional characters that I liked for different reasons. My favorite chapters to read were probably from the view of a Rainy, A Jewish girl who enlisted – she wants personal revenge against Hitler for the crimes he is committing. Since she was in the intelligence sector of the army, she got a broader view of the war as a whole than the girls in the field. Rio Richlin is from a small town, and her sister died in the war when she was drafted. Her death showed her how much she longed to do her part. Before, her biggest struggle was her crush on Strand, a dreamy boy from back home, but now her surprising talent for shooting got her and her best friend in the front lines. Finally, we have Frankie, who is fighting more than one discrimination; she is African-American, and wishes to be a medic. All of these characters had personal goals and fears. I loved how we got to see three strong females who are not afraid to prove their worth!

The tone of this book seem to accurately convey the horrors of the war. Of course, I have never experienced being in the army in a major war, but I’d imagine it would be just as horrific, if not more, as the author illustrates. The extra element of girls enlisting does not diminish from the terrifying situations that the troops find themselves in. There is a word/acronym introduced to the reader, FUBAR, that is army slang – it stands for “fucked up beyond all recognition” – and it was certainly appropriate in many scenes. How did I survive through 16 years of life without knowing about FUBAR?

Altogether, I found this book to be another interesting and unique title to add to the shelves of my historical fiction collection. I love the characters, and the little bit of romance that was thrown in; the only complaint I have is the end. It seemed rushed and after watching our characters march through the grueling start of their army life, I hated how so much time was skipped to the worst battle of the war. Then, it was merely skimmed over. (UPDATE: apparently its from a series. So hopefully these scenes will be elaborated on.) Despite this, I really was interested and I’m always surprised by how much history I am able to learn by reading historical fiction books. History is, after all, my favorite subject at school – I’m in Advanced Placement World and it’s the greatest thing, but I haven’t even got to World War Two yet! (We’re barely past the Islamic and Mongol empires and leading into European constitutional states) So at least now I have some background. A good novel!

Notable Scene:

She takes a single deep breath before stepping directly into the men’s latrine.

The shrieks and cries have a strangely non-masculine sound. Naked men twist away or cover themselves with whatever comes easily to hand, sometimes pulling a still clothed buddy in front of them in a soapy, steamy panic.

“Where is Private Geer?” Rio demands. “I am here for his apology.”

Soldier Girl Series:

1. Front Lines


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Front Lines. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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