Front Lines by Michael Grant | Book Review

Front Lines by Michael Grant was actually a pretty engaging and good read. I am a bit shocked at how quickly I whipped through it. Y’all, this book is like 576 pages. I picked it up off my shelf because I thought it would take me awhile to read and thus give me time to complete a few book reviews. I was hoping to get my need to review queue down a little bit. Well, my intentions were good, but wow, this book really took hold of me and blew my hopes of slowing down right out the window.

Michael Grant’s Front Lines reimagines history. Specifically, it is a new take on World War II. It asks the question, what if women served in combat roles alongside men, as they do today? And so, it examines this idea from the perspective of three main characters – Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman. The characters experience sexism, racism and anti-semitism. The attitudes of the time are not whitewashed. The story opens with the three girls – all from different areas of the United States and strangers to each other – enlisting in the Army. It then progresses to their basic training. Finally, the story ends with the three in North Africa with the way paved for the sequel, Silver Stars.

Rio Richlin is pretty much the main point of view character in this book. She’s a farm girl from California. So, she’s not all malnourished because of the Great Depression. She’s stocky and not the most self confident. However, she has a boyfriend, sort of – Strand, who is serving as an airman. Alas, she meets this other guy named Jack in her unit and there’s kind of an attraction there. Anyways, Rio is serving with her best friend, Jenou. She’s navigating the waters of sexism and also figuring out what kind of person she wants to be – particularly as it pertains to the war.

Frangie Marr is a Black girl from Oklahoma. She ends up enlisting because her dad can’t work due to an injury and she wants to be able to contribute money to her family. Frangie has a dream of becoming a doctor. Prior to enlistment, she practices on helping injured animals heal. After enlistment, she is terrible at basic training but is given the opportunity to train as medic. This is where Frangie really comes into her own. Her parts of the book are very captivating, I wanted more in regards to her character. Also, she faces some intersectional issues – sexism and racism. The bits where people are racist to her are really uncomfortable to read and does contain language. So, be aware.

Rainy Schultermann is a Jewish girl from New York City. She enlists because she believes so strongly in defeating Hitler. Can’t say as I blame her. She is fluent in multiple languages – German being one of them. And so, Rainy ends up training in intelligence. She’s so smart and takes no bullshit. So, naturally she is my favorite character of the three. She also gets the least amount of page time in Front Lines. Still, I hope she has a bigger role to come in the next two books.

I felt like Front Lines was so much better than I expected. With Grant’s books, I tend to have varying opinions. He’s very prolific, so there’s some of his books where I really gel with and then some where I just can’t muster up enough enthusiasm to care. This book though is my favorite of his books. The only real negative thing I could say is that sometimes it seems like the fourth wall is broken and that kind of threw me off as a reader. Otherwise, I am so here for the sequel and about to see if my library has it.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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