Sherri L. Smith, Author . Putnam $16.99 (275p) ISBN 978-0-399-24709-5

Smith (Lucy the Giant ) brings a gripping perspective to bear upon a lesser-known piece of America's past: during WWII, the government recruited women pilots to fly non-combat missions, e.g., ferrying planes. Driven by a desire to fly and wanting to help her enlisted brother, Ida Mae decides to pass as white so she can join the program. The author has an expert grasp on her subject, and readers will learn plenty about the Women Airforce Service Pilots, from their impractical uniforms to the dangerous missions they flew without reward. Ida Mae's unique point of view gives her special insight into the often poor treatment of women: when a pilot friend gets frustrated by a stunt they are asked to perform, Ida realizes, “Lily's just finding out what I've been living with my whole life. She's never known what it was like to be hobbled by somebody else's rules.” Key scenes demonstrate how much Ida has sacrificed by passing, as when her much darker mother visits her on Christmas and, à la Imitation of Life, poses as the family housekeeper. Although this book feels constructed to educate, readers will find the lesson well crafted. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/08/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
Open Ebook - 978-1-4406-9928-3
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Prebound-Glued - 278 pages - 978-0-606-14999-0
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Open Ebook - 978-1-101-40344-0
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