Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
First Impression: Front Lines is quite a long, but incredibly compelling read set in an alternative world-war II era, where the United States allowed women to fight on the front lines. The story is narrated by a mystery writer, someone who is supposedly a part of the 119th Division, and that aspect created a bit of a mystery element to the story. I loved the characters – a diverse cast, and Grant does an incredible job of discussing the issues of racism, sexism and anti-Semitism. I’m glad it’s a series because I cannot wait to finish the stories of these heroic girls.
Review: In the United States during WW2, a supreme court ruling allows girls to be eligible for service on the front lines alongside men. Three girls – Frangie, Rio and Rainy – join the army for their own reasons. Frangie joins for money for her family, Rainy joins to beat the Germans, and Rio joins to honour the death of her sister. The narration revolves around the story of these three girls – their motivations for enlisting in the army, their training, and eventually their posting overseas.
The synopsis of Front Lines really appealed to me, and I have heard fantastic things about Michael Grant as a writer, so Front Lines was a book I was highly anticipating.
A lot of people might be put off by the slow pacing, but I ask that you persevere because the journey that these girls go through is central to the novel. The characterization is spot-on; Grant does an excellent job in creating a connection between the reader and the characters. An aspect I really enjoyed was the f/f friendships that are sure to be developed even further in the sequels.
Grant deals with sexism, racism and anti-Semitism in Front Lines and he spares no details. Rio Richlin frequently encounters sexism; men doubting her ability, men being very vocal about how women can’t fight, and shouldn’t fight. Rio overcomes everyone’s judgements of her and proves them wrong; women can fight, and they can be pretty damn good at it, too. Rainy Schulterman is Jewish, and frequently experiences anti-Semitism, and yet she overcomes these obstacles and proves her worth – she wants to contribute, so she makes damn sure she does. African American Frangie – a personal favourite of mine – is an aspiring medic, and we see how cruelly African Americans were treated – they were segregated, alienated, and subject to disgusting and derogatory comments. Grant did an excellent job bringing these issues to the forefront.
As mentioned, the story itself is narrated and ‘written’ by some mysterious comrade that are seemingly fighting alongside our girls. They don’t give up their name, and this is something I am looking forward to in the sequels.
A series I will certainly be continuing with, and a book for you to get on your TBR lists.
Perfect for fans of historical fiction.
MY RATING: ★★★★★