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KLIATTCountless novels have been written over the last 50 years about WW II and the boys and men who fought so bravely, but few have focused on the girls and women they left behind—the wives, mothers, and girlfriends who prayed, hoped, and waited for their loved ones to return. Canadian author Hunter has written a wonderful coming-of-age story set in 1940s Toronto about how one feisty girl, 17-year-old Natalie Brigham, does more than buy Victory Bonds or knit socks in order to help the war effort. No longer satisfied with waving goodbye to male friends and relatives at the train station as they are sent to war, Natalie decides that even if she cannot join them in battle, she can do her patriotic duty on the home front. She announces to her anxious parents that she is "going into war work." Over the course of a year, Natalie moves from a job at Eaton's department store to a plant making fighter planes. Along the way, the novel follows Natalie's best friend, Eloise, who marries her high school sweetheart just before he is sent overseas, and Aunt Marie, whose son, Natalie's cousin and close friend, is lost in action. The book is lively, filled with colorful characters and tender moments. During her year of "war work," Natalie the giddy teenager is transformed into a thoughtful and mature young woman. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 192p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Robin M. Dasher-Alston