Pur­ple Hearts (Front Lines)

Michael Grant
  • Review
By – July 31, 2018
Sil­ver Stars (Front Lines) by Michael Grant | Jew­ish Book Coun­cil

Pop­u­lar teen author Michael Grant con­tin­ues his saga about three young women sol­diers fight­ing with the Unit­ed States forces in Europe dur­ing World War II. In this alter­nate his­to­ry tril­o­gy, women are allowed to enlist and serve along­side men.

In the first book of the series, Front Lines, the read­er meets Rio, a com­bat sol­dier from Cal­i­for­nia; Frang­ie, an African Amer­i­can medic; and Rainy, a Jew­ish girl assigned to the intel­li­gence ser­vice. The sequel, Sil­ver Stars, recounts the bat­tle for the Ital­ian island of Sici­ly. Through scene after scene of wartime wait­ing, inter­per­son­al maneu­ver­ing, bloody bat­tles, and long­ing for peace, these young women per­se­vere, rise to chal­lenges, make sac­ri­fices, and deal with the ter­rors of wartime life both inside and out of the trench­es. Per­son­al lives and loves flour­ish, but most­ly suf­fer. Loy­al­ty, devo­tion, patri­o­tism, and com­rade­ship are all there, but so are mud, blood, fear, and grue­some wounds. The sol­diers face racism and anti-Semi­tism and each has to repeat­ed­ly prove that, as women, they are up to the jobs they hold, that they can be trust­ed. All three earn high hon­ors for their service.

In the third and final book of the series, Pur­ple Hearts, the three pro­tag­o­nists are now well-trained, expe­ri­enced, and bat­tle-test­ed as they pre­pare to face D‑Day. Graph­ic war scenes alter­nate with more intro­spec­tive pas­sages; the young women form bonds with their fel­low sol­diers and do what they must to serve their coun­try, while sim­ply try­ing to sur­vive. The read­er encoun­ters con­cen­tra­tion camps and feels the shock Rainy expe­ri­ences when she sees fel­low Jews who have been vic­tim­ized by Nazis. As the sol­diers pre­pare for a post­war life, they assess their incred­i­ble growth, acknowl­edge their pain, and think about what this expe­ri­ence has meant to them. They march into the future pre­pared for life ahead.

Filled with grip­ping and graph­ic war scenes, this tril­o­gy will hold the atten­tion of read­ers ages 14 and up, espe­cial­ly girls look­ing for strong role mod­els. A bib­li­og­ra­phy and glos­sary are included.

Oth­er books in this review

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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