Front Lines by Michael Grant is a powerful, immersive read that presents an alternate version of history and asks as well as answers the question: what if women served on the front lines during World War II? Girl soldiers — teenagers barely out of high school (and some not even) fighting at the front, working as medics, and even training as intelligence operatives. These are the girls, the woman of Front Lines.
Rio, Frangie, and Rainy. I can’t get these girls out of my mind. Each fighting for their own reasons and each facing such deep prejudice, not only for their gender but for their age, skin color, and heritage. While each is from a different area of the country with diverse backgrounds, these young women have something in common — a dream of a better life.
I’ve watched a lot of war movies and have visited different museums with war exhibits (if you’re ever in the Chicago suburbs be sure to visit the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park). Author Michael Grant did an excellent job of re-imagining history while weaving actual events and historical details into his fictional work. Front Lines made me feel as if I had dropped into the foxhole with Rio. I was there with her. But more than that, I knew where she came from because Grant takes his reader on the full journey, from enlistment to basic training and passage across the ocean on the Queen Mary.
Tip: When you’re done reading the book, be sure to check out the Author’s Notes at the end. Interesting and good stuff there.
I admit I started this book a few weeks ago but set it aside to finish an ARC of another book and was sidetracked with work stuff. However, when I resumed reading it this weekend, I couldn’t put it down. What a book to read on Memorial Day weekend! At times it made me laugh and at times it made me angry. It also brought a few tears to my eyes. Most of all, Front Lines made me think and that’s why I really loved this book.
You don’t have to be a World War II or war story lover to enjoy Front Lines. While there’s plenty of action, some of it violent (it is war), Front Lines is a story with strong characters. Unforgettable characters. I can’t wait to read the next book and see what happens with Rio, Frangie, and Rainy and how not only the war will change them, but how they will change the war.
If you’ve not read Michael Grant’s “Gone” series, I highly recommend it as well. It’s one of my all-time favorites. You can check it out here along with his other work.