I’m a huge fan of Michael Grant. His Gone series is one of my all time favourite series. His books are dark and he’s particularly good at writing gory scenes. One of the things I love most about his books is his characters. You really get to know his characters and they end up feeling like your closest friends (and in some cases your worst nightmares). Michael introduces us to a new cast of characters who will grow to be your friends in the first book in his new series, Front Lines.
It’s 1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife’s edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance . . . are girls.
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. But not everyone believes that the girls should be on the front lines of war.
Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity to a sceptical world.
Front Lines is an epic read! It’s a fresh and exciting alternate history that makes you look at World War II in a completely different way. In Front Lines, Michael Grant has reimagined World War II with females fighting on the front lines. I’ve read quite a lot of fiction for kids and teens about World War II and it’s rare to find a story told from an American point of view, let alone from a female point of view. These girls aren’t keeping the home fires burning though, they are ‘Soldier Girls,’ fighting alongside the boys. They may be allowed to fight but they are not accepted, especially by some of the older men. However, just like the boys and men they are about to grow up very quickly and see things they won’t be able to forget.
Like the characters in Michael’s other books, the characters in Front Lines will get stuck in your head and you won’t be able to stop thinking about them. We follow three girls, Rio Richlin, Rainy Shulterman and Frangie Marr. Rio is a white girl from California who has lived a fairly sheltered life. Rainy is a Jewish girl from New York who wants to be part of army intelligence. Frangie is an African American girl from Oklahoma who wants to join the army to help support her family. We know straight away that Rainy and Frangie aren’t going to have an easy time in the army and they’re often the target of abuse. We follow each of these girls through their training and onto the front lines of the war.
Michael paints a very vivid picture of war. His descriptions of the battles and the injuries that the soldiers sustain in battle are harrowing and gruesome. War takes its toll on all of the characters and none of them are the same person they once were by end of the book. The story is told to us through a mysterious narrator, who is looking back on the war from a hospital bed. I’m curious to find out who this person is.
Front Lines is the first book in the Soldier Girl series and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Rio, Rainy and Frangie next.
Check out Michael Grant’s guest blog post here on the blog as part of his Front Lines Australia/NZ Blog Tour.