This is a relatively strong historical fiction choice for younger teens and advanced tweens. The book alternates between a road-trip that modern-day t...moreThis is a relatively strong historical fiction choice for younger teens and advanced tweens. The book alternates between a road-trip that modern-day teens Tali and Octavia take with their spunky grandma Mare, to Mare's story as an underaged member of the African American Women's Army Corps during World War II. The parts in the past are a compelling look at two very influential yet little-known aspects of history - the Women's Army Corps and the African American Women's Army Corps. The book also touches on everything from a comparison of race relations in both the U.S. and Europe to lesbianism in the 1940s. The history is engaging but slightly overshadowed by popular tween themes of friendship, romance, and coming of age which ultimately is why I'd recommend this book to younger teens as opposed to older, more mature teen readers who have access to far more hard-hitting looks at the subjects covered in this book. Minus two stars for the overuse of the contemporary narrative. While I appreciated the story of the two sisters coming to accept their grandmother as a nice framework for the book, I generally found their griping and own "coming of age" tales a little too trivial to take away as much time as they did from Mare's far more well-crafted and deeply engaging journey.(less)
This is an interesting, and unique, look at the Civil Rights movement as it focuses one one adolescent's experiences with the Black Panther movement w...moreThis is an interesting, and unique, look at the Civil Rights movement as it focuses one one adolescent's experiences with the Black Panther movement which as has been said by other reviewers, is pretty rare in YA/tween lit.
This is a good historical fiction choice for ages 10-15. The main character, Sam, is relatable - while he's dealing with a lot of extreme conflicts in terms of racial relations, his father and brother's conflicting ideals, etc. that shape the historical elements of the book, he's also dealing with normal adolescent issues like first crushes in a compelling way.
My only caveat with the book is that the ending felt rushed, particularly Sam's final decisions. No spoilers...but I just wish the author had spent a little more time wrapping up the complicated relationships and conflicts that faced Sam through the rest of the book.(less)
Great historical fiction pick for tweens - a look at the WASP corps in World War II (the first women pilots in the military) and also an interesting l...moreGreat historical fiction pick for tweens - a look at the WASP corps in World War II (the first women pilots in the military) and also an interesting look at race relations during World War II through the eyes of Ida Mae Jones, a young light-skinned woman who makes the controversial decision to pass for white to become a WASP. The author uses conventional tween-lit staples (some tragedy, a little romance, squeaky clean heroines) which could get a little tedious for older readers and possibly for male readers as well, but the book will really resonate with most 10-13 year olds.(less)