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.)
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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.
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The experiences of female soldiers in the military are plainly and honestly depicted…an immersive, powerful tale.
Front Lines does what great epics are meant to do: tells us the human side of history with honesty, wit, and clarity. Just because it didn’t happen this way, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Michael Grant is a master of twists that not only tear at his readers’ consciences, they hold a mirror up to our here and now and insist we consider what might otherwise be. FRONT LINES is a masterpiece of speculative story crafting.
★ “The history is illuminating and fascinating, but where Grant excels even more is in the immersive storytelling and compelling bonds among the multifaceted characters. Just as classic war novels demonstrate how war can reveal common humanity, Grant’s exploration of women in battle is no different.
What if American women had fought alongside men in World War II? Michael Grant gives us a magnificent alternate history that feels so real and right and true it seems impossible that it wasn’t. Every one of these fictional soldiers has wrapped herself around my heart.
Fascinating and powerful. This alternate history of WWII is relevant to the American military today, where men and women serve side by side. Men have no monopoly on courage or determination, and they never did. A great book.
One of the strengths of the novel was the way it personalized the World War II era. Despite being alternative history, the well-researched narrative will make this accessible to students seeking to understand a different time.
An AMAZING start to a new series featuring three diverse heroines who have to deal with sexism, racism, and the truth of war while still trying to keep hold of their humanity. This book will pull you in, and never let you go!
This is a book that should be read by everyone. The story was heart wrenching as well as heart-warming. War is dark and ugly and there were times that reality made the story difficult to read and yet I couldn’t put it down.
Vivid and visceral, Michael Grant’s remarkable work of alternate history brings World War II to breathtaking life. With its cast of memorable and appealing characters, Front Lines is irresistibly readable and absolutely unforgettable.
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
Three young women supply a gritty grunt's-eye view of World War II in the opener to an ultrahistory series. After a court decision declares women eligible for combat, aimless California farmer's daughter Rio Richlin volunteers for the Army, partly to avenge her sister's death but mostly to keep her best friend company. Diminutive, compassionate, and determined, African-American Frangie Marr enlists for the paycheck, but she also hopes for medical training. And Jewish Rainy Schulterman just wants to pour all her ferocious intelligence and steely will into killing Nazis. Switching among these three viewpoints, the narrative slowly constructs intimate portraits of each, as the "soldier girls" are tested in body and spirit, overcoming laziness, fear, and cockiness. They suffer through boredom, rough conditions, and incompetent commanders as well as routine sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism (authentically, highly offensive language is employed throughout). A framing device ponderous with foreshadowing—along with such standard teen tropes as love triangles and family secrets—keeps the plot moving, but it's the immersive, quotidian details that set up the gripping climax amid the chaos of combat. Bestselling science-fiction author Grant did his research (an extensive bibliography is provided), but the odd and likely unintended consequence of his premise is the erasure of thousands of military women who historically served and fought and died. Still, an engrossing portrayal of ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances. (Alternate history. 14 & up)
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|