Change is coming to West Point!
One drives off a cliff. An alarming number of others resign. Something at the military academy is causing the unusually high attrition of women cadets. Jan Wishart aims to find out before she's the next statistic at West Point. Her second year at the formerly all male citadel should be the fun year. But when one friend shows signs of abuse and another friend suddenly resigns, Jan's coming of age year becomes anything but enjoyable. The culture of hazing and harassment must be addressed, but it's almost impossible to get results through the chain of command. In a closed academy environment, sometimes the best way to call attention to an issue is to leak it the press.
In order to fulfill her duty, Jan must break with tradition and the longstanding culture of the United States Military Academy. Yet not everything is as it seems. Once again Jan's worldview is about to be upended by the secrets of West Point.
5-star Readers' Favorite Review, 2015 KINDLE BOOK AWARD semi-finalist!
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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite Area Bird is a work of military fiction based on real events, penned by author Susan I Spieth. This coming of age novel is the second in the Gray Girl series, following the experiences of women cadets in the 1980s when the US Military Academy first began to admit them. We follow Jan Wishart as her fellow female cadets start dropping out of the academy all around her, and Jan becomes determined to find out why before she too falls victim to whatever is causing the problem. When the issue turns out to be all over West Point, Jan is determined to reveal the brutal sexism taking place for all the world to see. Social issues, realism, and military life come together in this fascinating slice of life work by author Susan I Spieth. The narration of Jan’s experiences is packed with realistic details from West Point Academy, recreated perfectly from the author’s own personal experiences, and yet Jan is very much her own character and the narrative stays true to her rather than becoming too much of a memoir. The plot is filled with characters who reveal the most horrible aspects of human nature and the gender divide, but there are rays of hope and moments of triumph that peek through the struggle, giving the novel its raw emotional quality and high readability. Overall, Area Bird is an important work in the history of women’s fiction, but it’s also an engaging, dramatic read and part of an inspirational series.