Aggie is a typical teenage girl growing up in Israel. When it comes time for her to enter the Israeli Army she decides to try out for an elite combat unit, despite the incredulity of friends and family. This is the story of Aggie’s growth and bonding with fellow soldiers, as well as her first tastes of romance and of danger. While Aggie’s experiences are specific to Israel, her emotions are universal. The book is an engaging, easy-toread, surprisingly apolitical story that teen girls will relate to (both story and jacket design are aimed at a female audience). At the same time, readers will learn quite a lot about Israeli life without even realizing that they are doing so. This 2009 Sydney Taylor Honor Book is a highly recommended young adult novel. Grades 8 – 12.
Heidi Estrin is librarian for the Feldman Children’s Library at Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee for the Association of Jewish Libraries.