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Among the Red Stars

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  339 ratings  ·  116 reviews
World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
This is the second book I’ve read recently about the Night Witches, and I have to say, I loved it just as much as the first. I am fascinated by these women, and there’s always more to learn and another perspective.

Valka is living in Russia during World War II. Her country is broken apart, and she wants nothing more than to help in some way. She’s already a pilot, and she knows she’s a great one. An all-female group of pilots is named, and she signs up immediately.

Valka’s plane is rather delica
Anna Priemaza
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Pasha, a gentle teen boy who hears in colour, is conscripted into the Russian army and forced to go to war when his heart is full of peace.

Valka, a fierce and formidable teen girl who has spent hundreds of hours flying an old scrap of a plane whose engine regularly cuts out mid-flight, has to fight to become one of a tiny group of female pilots who are permitted to assist in the war efforts--and then keep fighting every single day to keep from making any error that might give the oh-so-capable m
May 04, 2016 marked it as to-read
It tells the story of a girl willing to risk it all for her dream to be a pilot


and her romance with a boy who becomes trapped behind enemy lines

Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was very lucky to have been given the opportunity to interview the author, Gwen C. Katz. Please take a look at the interview here.

Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz is the WWII feminist book you didn’t know you needed. Inspired by the true story of the Russian Night Witches, Katz takes the reader on an epic, life-changing journey with characters we can emphatically relate to today. From the very first page, I was drawn into this story and could tell it would be a 5-star book by the end of
Lauren ✨ (TheBookishTwins)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

With over 100 hours flying a piece of junk, Valka is a fiercely determined pilot. When WWII shatters Valka's homeland, and an all-female aviation group is created, Valka is adamant to aid the war effort. She has always loved the exhilaration of flying, but behind enemy lines, the war takes its toll on everyone, including Valka's childhood friend Pasha who is fighting for his life on the front lines. As the war intensifies, and
Andrew Shvarts
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenally written and genuinely thrilling, AMONG THE RED STARS captures an incredibly badass true story, one of those historical events you discover and can't believe no one's written about yet. The prose is evocative, capturing the period in vivid historical and technical detail, while never losing sight of the very human and relatable characters at the core. It takes exceptional skill to balance thrilling action scenes with the painful cost of war, and Gwen excels. An excellent and informat ...more
Megan  (thebookishtwins)
I really loved Among the Red Stars. I loved the historical setting, i'm ALWAYS a sucker for books about female pilots. I loved the friendships. I love girls supporting girls. I loved the slow burn romance. Valka was fierce, dedicated, and passionate. If you love books like Code Name Verity, then I highly suggest you pick this one up.
Dec 01, 2017 added it
Shelves: could-not-finish
For a book about female fighter pilots in World War II Russia, it's boring. I love the Night Witches and anything remotely tied to them and prepared to love this book. But letter writing between two people is so boring to read when nothing is happening. I don't want reports of action. I want the action.

Quit at 100 pages.
Andria Potter
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 🌟!!!

A lovely historical fiction tale about the Night Witches, during WW2 featuring brave women fighter pilots, a hint of romance, and based on true events. This was a great read, and yet another book that I've read telling about the bravery and strength of the women of WW2. Highly recommend for those who adore strong pieces of historical fiction!

Further review to come!
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writer-friends
This book grabbed on and didn't let go.

What these women went through to prove themselves, to simply go after their dream of being able to fly and fight for their country alongside the men--and then go on to kick ass all over town--was so liberating and beautiful and exciting, and BRAVE. The Night Witches not only inspired me, but grabbed my arm and took me with them. Love, dedication, heroism, fierce feminism (in a time when this was almost unheard of), friendship, camaraderie, the letters tuck
Cindy ✩☽♔
Apr 16, 2017 marked it as to-read
While, I am still excited for this book. I am not feeling the cover. It just looks kind of ugly to me.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Valka is a Russian girl who is eager to use her flying skills to help out in the war efforts during WWII. When the restriction against women joining is lifted due to desperate times, she and her cousin Iskra join up. Based upon the Night Witches from true history, the story follows Valka and her cousin (who's parents were convicted of being against communism, being "wreckers") as they train and fight for the all-female Aviation Group 122. It also intersperses letters between Valka and a boy from ...more
I love reading all the details with the Night Witches (please give me all the books with this, please), the Russian POV of WWII (please give me all the books with this, please), and all the girl power mixed with the alienation of their duties and moral uncertainty—those were a solid 4. But the romance and the letters nearly tanked it. This book would've been so much better without those dull elements; it messed with the narrative voice and hindered the pacing (rather than the useful time jump th ...more
Ms. Yingling
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Valka has trained as a pilot, and idolizes some of the Russian women who have made the news for the aviation exploits, but has had no luck finding a job. When the Germans attack the Russians, Valka answers a call for a women's air unit. Her long time friend, Pasha, joins the army. The two were just friends, but start to realize, through a series of letters, that they are fonder of each other than they thought. Valka has to learn how to fly for combat, how t
C.P. Lesley
Valentina (Valka) Koroleva and her cousin Iskra share a dream: to fly in defense of their Soviet motherland against the Nazi forces that have launched a surprise invasion in violation of Hitler’s nonaggression pact with Stalin. So when Valka receives a telegram announcing the formation of all-female fighting and bomber units, the two of them set off for Moscow without hesitation.

The number of applicants far exceeds the slots available, and the competition proves tougher than Valka and her cousin
Relynn Vaughn
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who runs the world? In Gwen Katz debut, AMONG THE RED STARS, girls do. Specifically the young women of the 588th Division VVS Night Bombing Unit. Formed as one of the all female pilot divisions under famed aviatrix Marina Raskova, the 588th carried out daring night bombing raids in U-2 biplanes on Axis targets during WWII, and were so feared by the Germans, they called them The Night Witches.

Their story is told by Valka, a young pilot from the Urals who, together with her cousin Iskra, enters th
The Lit Bitch
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, this year I have heard about a couple of books that came out or are coming out, about the Night Witches of WWII. I hadn’t read any of the books but I was interested in the subject matter and historical take on these brave women.

I wanted to pick up one of the, what I like to call, Night Witches books but I just didn’t think of it when I was at the bookstore or my library. Then one day in late November I got an email pitching this book featuring the Night Witches that was more of
Crossroads Library
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was heavy on the girl power, but it still dealt with the misogyny that these brave women faced when they joined the war effort in Russia during World War II. It reminded me of the Dear America books that I read when I was younger. Large parts of the story were written as letters between aviator Valka and her childhood friend, a soldier named Pasha. While there were other important characters (Valka's cousin and navigator, Iskra for instance), Pasha and Valka's relationship stood out to ...more
3.5 stars

I had to up-vote my rating because the concept and overall impression I have from this book is just awesome! I loved reading about these fantastic female pilots of Russia during WWII, their ferocity, their strength, their fears, and their hopes. Katz's research is obvious in the meaningful details put into the scene, whether it's the personality of an antagonist or the extremely immersive, ashy war setting.

Review to come on Happy Indulgence

"We will prove that we can fly and fight as wel
Alex  Baugh
Inspired by her hero Marina Raskova, Valka Koroleva, 18, wants nothing more than to fly for her country, the Soviet Union. Already a pilot, Valka’s first attempts to join the Red Army Air Force or VVS (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily) are initially turned down, but by September 1941, things have changed and they put out a call for qualified female pilots.

And Valka is beside herself to learn that Marina Raskova will be in charge of the women pilots, and to be accepted into the initial training program A
Victoria (thepetitebookblogger)
Interesting but not very memorable. However this book is researched very well and I would definitely read any of the authors other works.
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, own
Once I heard about this book, I instantly flew to Goodreads to check it out and see what it's all about. Then I saw that the name of the MC was Valka and I paused for a moment, trying to figure out what kind of name it was. My guess was that it was a diminutive of Valentina, but in Russian, usually spelled with a 'soft sign', often replaced with an apostrophe in English spellings. But since apostrophes tend to distract and make names look odd, people just forgo them.

But the thing is 'Valka' is s
Eva Seyler
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been not-so-patiently waiting to read this book for what seems years, and it did not disappoint. I love airplanes and WWII stories and badass girls and this has all three. The majority of the characters are also real people, which I also love in a book.

But I think one of my very favourite threads in the story was Pasha's friendship with the fellow soldier who wanted to be a priest. Their worldviews are so different in many ways, yet they both are gentle souls who love beauty and would ra
Brittany (Brittany's Book Rambles)
Fierce and heart-pounding -- I have been waiting for a book about The Night Witches for my entire life! This is a story that the world needs and Gwen C. Katz has given us an amazing YA historical fiction version. The female friendships were beautiful and inspiring. This book is just as much about WWII and these phenomenal ladies, as well as love and friendship. It is a fantastic quick read, and I highly recommend it!

Full review to come!
Claire Bartlett

*weeps softly*

*goes back to editing*

Well, I'll never have as good a book on the Night Witches as this, but it ain't going to stop me from trying.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.)

When I was offered the chance to review Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz, I jumped at the chance. After reading the great reviews, I knew it was going to be a great book. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

I thought the plot and world building were excellent! The story for Among the Red Stars is mostly told through letters written by Valka, the main character, and her childhood friend, Pasha. Set in Russia during World War II, Pasha was
Sarah Perchikoff
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Among the Stars is a book about friendship and hardship and struggle and loyalty and love and fighting for what’s right. It’s about three friends who go into a war to make some kind of difference and end up coming out of it very different people. Valka and Iskra are cousins that have a bond like sisters and Valka and Pasha are friends who, through the letters they send to each other slowly turn into something more. And when you are fighting for your lives and for your future, holding onto the re ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Okay, so I don't want to be whiny, but I was actually CRUSHED that this novel was a m/f novel??? Like, there are so few spaces in history that we can point to and say "queer women were there" and so to write a m/f love story in a space where you COULD have centered a f/f love story just felt....wrong? Also, due to the author's twitter presence and the way they rec'd this novel, I thought it would be f/f anyway, so I felt doubly "cheated". (I'm using that word w apostrophe's bc I don't want to im ...more
I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. It's based on a true story about Russian WWII female pilots called Night Witches. The three main characters and their plot is fictional, but the supporting cast are all real people. I had never read a WWII novel told from a Russian POV so I found that really interesting. It's hard to say why I didn't like it more. I just found it easy to put down and get distracted.
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: preordered
A fictional story based on truth, which was wonderful and one of the very few YA novels that cover the Night Witches. It encourgaed discussions about aircraft, bombers and WWII between my boyfriend and I. A lot of it would be boring for some as it was on technical details about aircraft and flight.
But it was a book I could discuss with him, and it was written through a mix of letters and the character's POV.
I really really enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it!
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