Among the Red Stars

Gwen C. Katz. HarperTeen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-264274-5
Valka, a young Russian aviator, joins the war effort from the air while her childhood friend Pasha fights on the front lines in this intimate portrayal of the personal toll of WWII. Told largely through letters exchanged between the friends (and inspired by a real group of fearless airwomen, designated the Night Witches by their enemies), Katz’s debut novel extols the troops’ bravery without sugarcoating the atrocities of war. Through Valka’s eyes, she examines the sexism women faced attempting to break into the field, fears of being labeled a traitor to the socialist experiment, the inextricable ways war changes a person, and the sacrifices and impossible choices that are inextricably tied to combat. Valka’s journey takes her from a scrappy, idealistic pilot to a battle-worn veteran, but she never loses her humanity. Although her correspondence with Pasha serves as an excellent device to overlay their experiences and ignite a love story from a safe distance, their detailed recountings of various conversations wind up an awkward way for them to share information with each other. Ages 13–up. Agent: Thao Le, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-264276-9
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