I finally got my hands on a copy of Front Lines as I have been waiting to read it for ages after seeing the description. I read some Michael Grant books ages ago and i remember enjoying them so i had high hopes for this one too. I was not disappointed as the characters in Front Lines are well written and developed and it sends out a strong message about gender stereotypes.
Title: Front Lines
Author: Michael Grant
Date published: January 28th 2016
Page Count: 480
A tense, exciting and moving new drama from the bestselling author of the GONE series.
1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife’s edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance . . . are girls.
Set in an alternate World War II where young women are called up to fight alongside men, this is the story of Rio Richlin and her friends as they go into battle against Hitler’s forces.
But not everyone believes that they should be on the front lines. Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity. Because the fate of the world is in the hands of the soldier girls.
The first of three books, this is Michael Grant at his epic best.
‘Frontlines’ is such a good book and is empowering and addresses many issues about gender stereotypes, equality and both gender and racial discrimination-while also being an action packed WWII story. It focuses on the American Army in WWII after Women were allowed to enlist and be drafted.
Each of the characters are unique and represent women differently-different races, religions, backgrounds and all have varying ideas about war. Rio is a small town girl who started off with an idealistic view about war and enlisted along with her friend Jenou. They view it as a way of leaving their town, meeting boys and doing something different with their lives and envisioned working at the home front. Rainy is a Jewish girl who was accepted into the intelligence program. She has a drive for action and adventure and enjoys using her skills and therefore enlisted much to the chagrin of her family. Lastly we have Frangie, an African American women who enlisted to support her family after her father was injured and out of the work force. She dreams of being an army medic, and then in the future a Doctor, something rare for African Americans during this time. All of the characters had different motivations to joining the army and different ideas of what it would be like which made for a great story and many different things could be explored through each character. Rio was probably my favourite character as we see her grow from a simple small town girl into a warrior, more informed about the world and able to stand up for her self.
The battle scenes were well written and they made my heart race every word and every chapter. I became so invested in each of the characters and I wanted them to succeed and survive. The plot was well paced and the distinct two sections to the book, one focusing on training and then the second when they go to war highlighted the difference between the two and how utterly unprepared physically and, importantly, emotionally for the realisms of war and the battle field.
Of course this book highlights the discrimination and stereotypes associated these girls were exposed too being some of the first female soldiers not only a male dominated environment but also in a time where discrimination was rampant. Rio and Jenou were picked on by the male recruits and the army sergeants and trainers, and Rio works hard to establish herself as worthy of being a recruit and stood up to the guys hounding her. Frangie is both African American and a Women and faces discrimination and insults from both fronts. She has patients refuse to be treated by her and is the victim of an attempted assault by another army recruit. She overcomes this and works hard to cement her place as a medic and is highly valued by her supervisor and some of the others in her regiment. Lastly, Rainy gets assigned to a position as a ‘glorified’ assistant and is often ignored in strategic meetings despite being qualified and good at her work. She takes risks to try to get noticed and fully believes in the cause because of her ties to her community and her family. The way all of the girls respond to their treatment and work to gain respect from their fellow recruits and superiors shows their strength and I love how they each have different talents and skills that they bring to the army.
The ending was a bit slow and unsatisfying, however it does leave some things open for the next book in the series. However I wished some things were resolved and not left open. Apart from that ‘Frontlines’ is a well written book with some intense battle scenes, different and interesting characters, and such a unique premise. I am so excited for the next book in the series!