The author of the dystopian series Gone is back with a new YA historical fiction trilogy, Soldier Girl. In Front Lines, the first book in this trilogy, it is WWII, but not as students would learn in history class. Women and girls are not cooking and cleaning while the men fight. In Michael Grant's version, women and girls get to fight alongside men in the fight against Hitler. After Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, America joins the war against Hitler. Michael Grant creates an alternate reality of the war in which women could be drafted.
Three brave girls decide to enlist in the war. Rio Richlin enlists because she wants to do her part and avenge her sister's death in the war. Frangie Marr, who is African American, enlists to help her family pay bills, and she wants to become a medic. Rainy Schulterman, who is Jewish, enlists because she wants to get rid of Hitler and stop what is happening to her family. While they are on their separate paths, all three of them will come together in the Battle of Kasserine Pass.
I like that while the details and the main topic that women could fight was made up, the places and the Battle of Kasserine Pass are real. I also got to learn more about the war and what it was like. There is a lot of background information provided. The details were really outstanding in the fact that most of them are correct, like the military terms and the names of the boats. There is a bibliography in the back of the book with many sources in it. I liked that amount of credibility, and I did not expect to see one.
The characters were great! The style about switching perspectives was the same as Grant's style in the Gone series. I really liked how the characters crossed paths, even though they were working in different areas. Frangie was my favorite character. I think she deserved a whole book. Rio had most of the chapters, but she was also the most influenced. She had a key part on the battlefield, and I loved her emotions about firing the rifle. Rainy was very helpful in her intelligence unit, and there were some scenes that I really liked about her. There were other strong characters as well, such as Jenou. She was basically Rio's sidekick. I liked that she brought humor to the book.
Michael Grant is one of my favorite authors, as he wrote the Gone series. He can write fantasy and science fiction just as well as he can write historical fiction. I do not read historical fiction that often, but the fact that Grant wrote it made it more appealing. While the majority of Front Lines is about the war, he also tackles issues of racism and sexism. Frangie wanted to be a medic, and most of her prospective was about the challenge of being a women, and on top of it all, being African American. She handled the criticism well, as did the other girls about their gender and race.
I did not enjoy the fact that America lost this battle. I think that for a book like this with female empowerment and such inspiration it was not the best choice to put in the book a losing battle. I also did not like that not many events happened in the book. I think that there should have been more battles mentioned than the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Most of the events went on a little longer than was needed, but since this is a trilogy, I understand why.
I recommend you read Front Lines. I cannot wait to read the sequel, Silver Stars, which comes out on January 31, 2017!
Michael Grant is also the author of the Gone series, which I highly recommend for YA dystopian fans. Read my review of the first book in the Gone series. I am also thrilled to know that Grant is coming out with a 7th book in the Gone series, Monster, set 4 years in the future.
Title: Front Lines (Soldier Girl Book 1)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 576 Pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars