Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Front Lines

Front Lines by Michael Grant
Soldier Girl #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 1/28/16 to 1/31/16
576 pages

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 received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Have I mentioned my love of WWII yet? Yes? No? Well it is no surprise that Front Lines was a fantastic read. If I were to categorize it within the realm of WWII fiction, Front Lines would be more about the war itself, like building trenches, training, intestines flying everywhere, etc. Yet even though this was not exactly my cup of tea, I still loved it.

Front Lines starts with the perspectives of three girls, Rio, Frangie, and Rainy. Each are in incredibly different situations, but all have in common the ability to enlist and be drafted in the war. This is where alternative history comes in, because if you remember, this was not a thing in our WWII. And of course, after reading this, I'm thinking "Well why not?". These girls showed tremendous strength and resolve, not at all falling behind their male counterparts. Obviously this is a fictional work, but I have no doubt that the real women during this time would show this same courage.

Issues regarding sexism and racism came up a lot in the story. Girls were constantly being told that the war wasn't for them, and that they wouldn't be able to stomach it all. Yet both Rainy and Rio were badasses. Even though Rio suffers a lack of self-confidence and self-doubt, she becomes an incredible gunwoman, taking out more of the enemy than anyone else in her infantry. And Rainy is part of Intelligence, and she jumped out of an airplane to deliver a message, because she volunteered to. Did I mention that I am super scared of skydiving? Because I would never jump out of a plane.

And lastly, Frangie had to suffer through not only because of the color of her skin, but also because she's a girl enlisting in the war. And even though she's knowledgeable as a medic, no white soldier wants her to operate on them. And it is such a shame because she is so good at what she does. And she risks her life often helping others out on the field. And I am just so proud of her, of everyone.

So yes, Front Lines deals with racism, sexism, war, and although I adored the characters, I did feel like at points, it was a little boring. Not to lie, but the book itself is 576 pages. I had to trudge through some parts where I just wasn't feeling anything. And at times, I just wanted the book to be over because it was incredibly long. Along with that, I am unsure whether someone who is not obsessed with WWII like I am will enjoy this. There is a lot of WWII terminology, in regards to guns, ammo, war terms, etc., that probably will fly over heads (mine included).

Nevertheless, would I recommend this? Yes. Even without the context of WWII, Front Lines deals a lot with the issues of sexism and racism, and you should read this because of that. 
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