Author: Elizabeth Wein
Published by: Electric Monkey
Publication date: 6th February 2012
Genres: Young Adult/War
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
I really didn't think this would be my kind of book. I don't usually read books set in the war era, so when it arrived through the post to review, I gave it to my mum as she said she was happy to review it for me as a guest review. After she read it, she strongly recommended it to me, saying that I really should give it a try and that it was really interesting. So I read it, and my mum was right - it is fantastic!
It's set in the second world war, from the point of view of two women in the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force). Eventually, they go their separate ways, with one woman going to the ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) to be an Air Transport Pilot and the other was chosen to become a SOEA (Special Operations Executive Agent.)
There were some spectacular plot twists, especially near the end. I didn't want to put the book down! It was a fascinating insight into women's roles in the war. I never knew about the ATA or the WAAF before so it taught me something new - it sparked my curiosity. It was a very interesting and exciting story, because you never knew what was going to happen. There were lots of sad, moving parts, but I won't say what they are as that will spoil the story. It was a fantastically written book, really well researched - the author is a pilot herself so she knew enough to make the book plausible.
It was really interesting to read about the French Resistance and how they helped the English. They were just normal people who did an incredibly brave thing - if they had been caught, they would be killed or tortured.
Half of the story is told by Julie, who is an British spy caught in Nazi-occupied France. She is imprisoned by the Gestapo. The story is a report written by her to SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden, with 'facts' about the British War Effort. The second half is told by her best friend Maddie, who is not only English, but also Jewish. Therefore she is hiding in a French Resistance barn waiting to rescue Julie.
I loved this book! It's the best story I've read in a while. 5/5! I recommend this to readers aged 12+, as there is some strong language and descriptions of torture.