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Front Lines

Front Lines

4.5 4
by Michael Grant

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Perfect for fans of Girl in the Blue Coat, Salt to the Sea, and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, genre-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

World War II, 1942. A court decision


Perfect for fans of Girl in the Blue Coat, Salt to the Sea, and The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, genre-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
“The history is illuminating and fascinating, but where Grant excels even more is in the immersive storytelling and compelling bonds among the multifaceted characters. Just as classic war novels demonstrate how war can reveal common humanity, Grant’s exploration of women in battle is no different.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The experiences of female soldiers in the military are plainly and honestly depicted…an immersive, powerful tale.”
Elizabeth Wein
“What if American women had fought alongside men in World War II? Michael Grant gives us a magnificent alternate history that feels so real and right and true it seems impossible that it wasn’t. Every one of these fictional soldiers has wrapped herself around my heart.”
Andrew Smith
“Michael Grant is a master of twists that not only tear at his readers’ consciences, they hold a mirror up to our here and now and insist we consider what might otherwise be. FRONT LINES is a masterpiece of speculative story crafting.”
C. Alexander London
“Front Lines does what great epics are meant to do: tells us the human side of history with honesty, wit, and clarity. Just because it didn’t happen this way, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”
Publishers Weekly
★ 11/02/2015
In this skillfully imagined alternate history, Grant (the Messenger of Fear series) envisions a 1940 lawsuit that leads to the draft and the right to enlist being extended to women. He then follows three teenagers who enlist after Pearl Harbor through basic training and on to North Africa. Rio Richlin, an aimless small-town girl, feels moved to enlist after her older sister dies in the war, and is joined by her boy-crazy friend Jenou Castain. African-American Frangie Marr, who dreams of becoming a doctor, enlists to help support her disabled father. And as a Jewish New Yorker, Rainy Schulterman needs little excuse to join the fight against Hitler. Grant pulls no punches about the sexism, racism, and violence his characters encounter. All of the protagonists are well-developed individuals, but also represent “every soldier girl who carried a rifle, dug a hole, slogged through mud, steamed or froze, prayed or cursed, raged or feared, ran away or ran toward.” This gripping and heart-wrenching tale, which promises a sequel, is particularly apropos considering the Armed Forces’ current reconsideration of the role of women in combat. Ages 14–up. Agent: Steve Sheppard, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams and Sheppard. (Jan.)
Michael Cart
Vivid and visceral, Michael Grant’s remarkable work of alternate history brings World War II to breathtaking life. With its cast of memorable and appealing characters, Front Lines is irresistibly readable and absolutely unforgettable.
Faith Hochhalter
This is a book that should be read by everyone. The story was heart wrenching as well as heart-warming. War is dark and ugly and there were times that reality made the story difficult to read and yet I couldn’t put it down.
Crystal Perkins
An AMAZING start to a new series featuring three diverse heroines who have to deal with sexism, racism, and the truth of war while still trying to keep hold of their humanity. This book will pull you in, and never let you go!
Deborah Taylor
One of the strengths of the novel was the way it personalized the World War II era. Despite being alternative history, the well-researched narrative will make this accessible to students seeking to understand a different time.
VOYA, December 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 5) - Kimberly Barbour
The year is 1942 and the United States and her allies are fighting the Axis Powers across Europe and North Africa. Across the nation, young men, as well as many brave young women, step forward to fight. Rio Richlin, a farm girl from northern California; Frangie Marr, an African American girl from Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Rainy Schulterman, a Jewish girl from New York City have just enlisted to serve in the United States Army and embark upon a journey none of them could have ever foreseen. They leave their homes and families for the front lines. Long forgotten are their days of being teenage girls—they are now “soldier girls.” The first in a new series by Grant, Front Lines is a fast-paced, action-packed alternate history of World War II. With the opportunity for women to enlist for combat or be drafted into the Armed Forces, Grant presents a story that is both intense and compelling with a strong character-driven plot. Told from the perspective of an unknown “soldier girl,” each chapter describes the experience of one of the three main heroines and their drastic, and sometimes violent, transformations into the women warriors of the Second World War. The fast pace of this novel, along with its relatable characters and engaging plot, will easily draw in reluctant readers. Grant’s well-researched details of living conditions that WWII soldiers endured will appeal to fans of historical fiction. Readers of this book will be anxiously awaiting the sequel. Reviewer: Kimberly Barbour; Ages 15 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This imaginative alternate history novel is told from the point of view of young women who enlist in the military during World War II. A court case decides that women can serve in the military and be drafted before World War II happens, and in the throes of war, teens from a range of backgrounds, religions, and races enlist for very different reasons. Though it is a lengthy tome, the story flies by and teens will stay engaged as they read the alternating women's perspectives and stories—from boot camp to assignments to actual war on the front lines. Grant does not sugarcoat the racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism that was so matter-of-fact in America at that time, so there is plenty of strong language. The main characters are all well-drawn, strong women, and the wartime events are well researched and accurate, even within the context of the alternate history plotline. Though the length may put some teen readers off, the alternative history and wartime plot, which reads like a movie, will appeal to many. VERDICT A first purchase for every teen collection, and an interesting series opener.—Heather Massa, East Rockaway Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Three young women supply a gritty grunt's-eye view of World War II in the opener to an ultrahistory series. After a court decision declares women eligible for combat, aimless California farmer's daughter Rio Richlin volunteers for the Army, partly to avenge her sister's death but mostly to keep her best friend company. Diminutive, compassionate, and determined, African-American Frangie Marr enlists for the paycheck, but she also hopes for medical training. And Jewish Rainy Schulterman just wants to pour all her ferocious intelligence and steely will into killing Nazis. Switching among these three viewpoints, the narrative slowly constructs intimate portraits of each, as the "soldier girls" are tested in body and spirit, overcoming laziness, fear, and cockiness. They suffer through boredom, rough conditions, and incompetent commanders as well as routine sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism (authentically, highly offensive language is employed throughout). A framing device ponderous with foreshadowing—along with such standard teen tropes as love triangles and family secrets—keeps the plot moving, but it's the immersive, quotidian details that set up the gripping climax amid the chaos of combat. Bestselling science-fiction author Grant did his research (an extensive bibliography is provided), but the odd and likely unintended consequence of his premise is the erasure of thousands of military women who historically served and fought and died. Still, an engrossing portrayal of ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances. (Alternate history. 14 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Front Lines Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Grant author of Front Lines, the Gone series, the Messenger of Fear series, and the Magnificent Twelve series, has spent much of his life on the move. Raised in a military family, he attended ten schools in five states, as well as three schools in France. Even as an adult he kept moving, and in fact he became a writer in part because it was one of the few jobs that wouldn’t tie him down. His fondest dream is to spend a year circumnavigating the globe and visiting every continent. Yes, even Antarctica. He lives in California with his wife, Katherine Applegate, and their two children. You can visit him online at www.themichaelgrant.com.

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Front Lines 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
ReadingwithErin More than 1 year ago
"See, Gentle Reader, I know the rules of war stories. I know I'm supposed to present a tale of patriotism, of high-minded motives and brave deeds, hardships endured with a stiff upper lip and a wry grin. I'm supposed to tell you about the brotherhood- and now sisterhood- of soldiers. But there's one thing I cannot do as I pound these typewriter keys, and that is lie. " When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Front Lines is an alternate history of WWII where women were allowed to be drafted and fight in the war. It follows three main characters: Rio Richlin – a California farm girl talked into joining the war by her best friend Jenou. Frangie Marr- An African American girl who joins due to family reasons. She wants to be a medic. Rainy Schulterman- A Jewish-American who wants to be an intelligence officer, and to destroy the Germans. It switches points of view every few chapters, but Rio gets focused on the most. We also have important side characters that each of the girls have. They end up making the story even better, and even funny moments happen. We see them become comrades with the men, and gain respect as time goes on. We follow the women though enlisting, training, and then one battle in the war. We see the struggles they face each different in their own ways. Rio faces the general disgruntled-ness of the men about women being allowed to fight, and the hardships that come with that. Plus the hardships of training and living away from home for the first time ever, and the added in fear of going to war. Once at war she not only excels at what she was taught but does better than the men. Which causes the men to get upset at her, and blame everything else but themselves on why she did better than the. Frangie not only has to deal with being a woman enlisted, but also the prejudice of being black. She also really struggles with the physical part of training, but excels at others. With the help of an older Sergeant she gets what she wants, but that is just the beginning of her struggle and she will suffer the most out of any of the girls. We don’t get much of Rainy’s story compared to the other two. We know that she gets to be in intelligence, but it just ends up being a glorified secretary until her ability to speak German is needed and then she is immediately moved to a different department, where she gets to translate and later on even deliver a message to a set of troops. The girls don’t all meet until almost the end of the book, but when they do, they band together and take a German hostage. “Now I know why they never let women fight wars, Too mean.” Grant did an amazing job, of telling this story. This isn’t just a story of woman fighting in the war, it also seems pretty accurate with war details, and at the back Grant even lists all of the books he used for references. It does get graphic at times, but that was to be expected with a war story, and makes it seem all the more real. I can’t wait for the second book, and see what happens to the women next. "It's coming to and end, this war, but I still have a lot of story to tell. There's Sicily and Italy and France yet to write about. A whole lot of war there."
anythingnovel More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC from EpicReads! in exchange for an honest review. I have mentioned this book previously on my blog and was very excited to finally read it. Within the first couple of pages, I fell a little bit in love with this story. It opens with an unknown, almost omniscient, narrator who introduces the characters to the reader. It gave me chills and reminded me a lot of the narrator used in The Book Thief. However, I was a little disappointed to discover that this narration occurs for only about 10 pages of the entire novel. I also would have loved to hear more from the perspective of the soldier working in intelligence throughout part I of the novel, when they are receiving their training. This was such a unique perspective and I feel like it could have used more fleshing out and attention. Although the beginning of the novel dragged a bit in some places, I was really impressed with Grant’s writing during the conflict scenes, and started flying through pages once Part II arrived. Now that the girls have officially transitioned into combat life, I could easily see myself enjoying the next installment of this series. I found this to be a great start to a very intriguing series.
Anonymous 24 days ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. Its so interesting to see this book include women in WWII. It also makes you realize the men and women are all just human. The problems and concerns that arise from these women are similar to those that arise from men.
HillbillyLill More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued by the idea of women fighting at the front lines during WWII, and this book didn't disappoint. I am looking forward to the other two books in this trilogy.