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Silver Stars: A Front Lines Novel

Review

Silver Stars: A Front Lines Novel

Picking up where FRONT LINES left off, Michael Grant’s SILVER STARS continues the chronicle of the lives of Frangie Marr, Rainy Shulterman and Rio Richlin as they fight for their country during WWII, in an alternate history where American women are subject to the draft. After their work in North Africa in Grant’s first book, FRONT LINES, these three women now embark on new missions for the war effort. Frangie continues her work as a medic, Rainy accepts a new assignment for intelligence purposes and Rio slowly pushes north with her platoon and fellow soldiers as they make their way through Italy. As they each fulfill their duties, they begin to learn both what it means and what it takes to be a hero, as well as how far they have come since entering the war.

"Every topic in SILVER STARS is meticulously researched, and it is obvious that more than just telling an exciting story, Michael Grant’s main objective is to accurately depict the experiences on the front lines to the best of his ability."

Grant uses SILVER STARS to primarily explore the effect of war on those who experience it firsthand, and he spares no detail when creating a devastatingly graphic picture of the lives of soldiers as well as their mindsets. The reader gets a clear sense of the harshness and crudeness of the soldiers themselves, toughened by their experiences in war, but also their black humor and the bonds in their military units --- likely the only things that kept them sane during times of prolonged conflict. The shocking realism of the novel continues with the conflicts in the novel as well. The battles are not glossed over or unbelievable --- Grant demonstrates that the daily skirmishes of war were the rule, and large battles the exception. The reader gains a new appreciation for what daily combat was actually like --- struggles for small patches of land lost twice as easily as they were gained. Every topic in SILVER STARS is meticulously researched, and it is obvious that more than just telling an exciting story, Michael Grant’s main objective is to accurately depict the experiences on the front lines to the best of his ability.

But what really makes SILVER STARS stand out is the deep exploration into the internal conflicts of the characters, and the battles they face not only around them, but also within. Grant masterfully punctuates the entire story with a deep exploration into complex ideas about heroism, duty and morality, as well as hate, racism and sexism. Frangie, Rainy and Rio are all no longer the naive, inexperienced soldiers they were at the beginning of the series, having now experienced combat, and they struggle with what they have seen and what they have done for the sake of war. All three girls begin to lose some of their morals and beliefs, a testament to the effects of war on the minds of those who experience it firsthand, and their struggle to hold on to their old identities despite their changing circumstances is a tangible conflict that stretches the course of the entire novel and ties the stories of the girls together. Grant excels at a slow character development that gradually builds the characters in the most realistic and natural way possible.

Overall, SILVER STARS carries weight and depth which should appeal to older teens craving a story with true substance. Anyone able to handle the violence of war will likely enjoy this series, and it is not just a novel for those who like historical fiction --- any teen looking for a complex, thought-provoking novel will enjoy this series, regardless of their interest in historical fiction. Michael Grant creates a novel that is as thick in substance as it is in pages (at around 500 pages, this is not a short book!), demonstrating a mastery of characterization, plot and detail that makes SILVER STARS stand out in the best way possible.

Reviewed by Rachel R., Teen Board Member on January 24, 2017

Silver Stars: A Front Lines Novel
(Soldier Girl #2)
by Michael Grant