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About This Book:

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines. 

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.

 

 

*Review Contributed By Karen Yingling Staff Reviewer*

 

WWII Russian History

Valka has trained as a pilot, and idolizes some of the Russian women who have made the news for the aviation exploits, but has had no luck finding a job. When the Germans attack the Russians, Valka answers a call for a women's air unit. Her long time friend, Pasha, joins the army. The two were just friends, but start to realize, through a series of letters, that they are fonder of each other than they thought. Valka has to learn how to fly for combat, how to get along with superior officers, and how to deal with the fact that she or her comrades could die at any time. Pasha also has to deal with these things. Eventually, Pasha goes on a mission behind enemy lines and needs to be rescued by Valka.

Good Points
World War II is still a really popular topic, and I'm always looking for books on different facets of it. Riordan's The Sniper covers women in the Russian military, but I didn't know how much more involved Russian women were in the air force. There are many more books about the army aspect of the war, and not as much about the air battles, so this had several things to recommend it. 

The light romance was a great touch to get readers who are not tremendously interested in the military or history to pick up the book. 

The details of daily life at the time were quite good, and I especially enjoyed reading how Valk idolizes some of the women pilots and is given the opportunity to have flight instruction. This might surprise some young readers. Pair this with Lasky's Night Witches, Davis' Mare's War and Lynch's WWII series.

 

 

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