Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Calendar Girls - Mar 2017 - best book with an active war (in my opinion) - #CalendarGirlsBooks

Calendar Girls is hosted by bloggers, Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie Noell Bernard – both have amazing blogs full of fun, bookish posts. Calendar Girls is a brand new monthly blog event inspired by Neil Sedaka’s 1961 song Calendar Girl. Just like in the song, we decided to use a specific theme for each month and choose a book based on these themes! The event is meant to incite discussions with other bloggers about books we’ve read and loved, is meant to help bloggers meet other bloggers, and also for bloggers and readers to find out about blogs which they normally may not have come across! Want to know more? Click on the links above! And it’s not too late to jump on the Calendar Girl train! Join now!

Best book with an active war

I am so excited to talk about the book I chose this month and to share it with all of you. The minute I saw the topic for March I knew exactly what book I was going to choose. This book has been sitting on my TBR pile since I bought it last year waiting patiently for me to get to it, and I have been very eager to get to it. Now a caveat, I am still in the process of reading it, I started it on Sunday, but I still believe it is the best choice for best book with an active war. The further I get into it the more solidified that opinion becomes. I'm enjoying this book so much that I looked it up right after starting it to see when the next one would be out, saw that it was released on Jan 31, 2017, and promptly ordered it. It is now sitting on my TBR shelf waiting for me to finish the first book. My pick is a genre that I don't actually read a lot from but would like to start reading more of, historical fiction. It has a premise that was just too perfectly to my tastes for me to not be 100% drawn to it. So without further ado, I give you my choice for the best book with an active war:

 Front Lines by Michael Grant

1942. World War II. The most terrible war in human history. Millions are dead; millions more are still to die. The Nazis rampage across Europe and eye far-off America.

The green, untested American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled—the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

But something has changed. A court decision makes females subject to the draft and eligible for service. So in this World War II, women and girls fight, too.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering. Not one expects to see actual combat. Not one expects to be on the front lines.

Rio, Frangie, and Rainy will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. They will fear and they will rage; they will suffer and they will inflict suffering; they will hate and they will love. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant has created a masterful alternate history of World War II in Front Lines, the first volume in a groundbreaking series. 

-- via Goodreads

What caught my attention about this book first and foremost was the cover and tagline. I had to pick up the book just to see which war it was about with a cover image like that. I knew it had to be either World War I or World War II. It's World War II. But you know that if you read the summary above. As someone who is kind of obsessed with Marvel's Peggy Carter and a feminist/fan of feminist literature, the premise just screamed "read me, now!" so I bought it. My Mum missed her calling in life, she would have made a fantastic World War II historian, and my Mum's Mum was indeed part of the British Army in the Second World War so I've gone into the book knowing a fair bit about the war and a little bit about women in the war specifically, so I couldn't wait to see what Grant did with this alternate history. Have I ever mention that I also love alternate universe fanfiction? This kind of "what if?" alternate history premise really speaks to my love of AUs.

What in my opinion makes this the best book with an active war isn't just the premise though. It's the realism with which the premise is addressed and presented. The actual battle that is portrayed in the second half of the book, the battle of Kasserine Pass, was a totally real battle for example. I think the best way to show you why it's the best though is to quote Grant's author note where he explains why he wrote the book the way he did.

In the course of portraying the attitudes and notions of social justice prevalent in the United States in those days, I have used language and portrayed attitudes that all good people now find abhorrent. But it was another time, and I can't whitewash history. In those days, racism and sexism and anti-Semitism were all right out there in the open. Some people had begun to see beyond those destructively irrational notions, but it was very much a work in progress. The generation that won World War II saved the world -- no really, saved the world -- but they were not saints. Grant, pp. 544.
His characters are raw and real and diverse. You can imagine that, yeah, this is really what it would have been like if American woman had been eligible to serve in World War II. He doesn't sugar coat any of the harsh realities and that's what makes this book so amazing. I'm really loving all of the main characters so far, they haven't even completed basic training yet at the point I'm at in the book, but I am so invested in their stories and in how they're going to handle being on the front lines.

Do you agree like alternate histories? Do you have any other historical fiction recommendations for me?


  1. Ooooh, I've heard of this before, but I have yet to read it. Super interesting choice, and super yay for girl power! It was such an interesting premise, and World War II is always such a fascinating time - in the worst way, but still. This is such an interesting book, and I'm definitely going to have to read it. Great post, and I'm definitely going to have to check it out!

    1. It really is a very good book I definitely recommend checking it out.

  2. I love your pick! I love it because it's so rooted in actual history that I feel like a lot of people could have a connection with this book and be drawn in. I think your recommendation is even more heavily weighted when you inform us about your background knowledge of that particular war time. It's great! I'm so happy you shared a book I haven't heard about before because it means I might just have to add another book onto my TBR. :p

    Thanks for sharing and participating again this month! ^.^