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DarleneMarshall

Darlene Marshall, author

I write award-winning historical romance about pirates, privateers, smugglers and the occasional possum.

Rose Under Fire - Elizabeth Wein

Another powerful, moving, important novel from Elizabeth Wein. I say "important" because of her gift for bringing history alive for the YA (and adult) reader in her tales of the courage of young women during WWII.

Rose is an American teenager, barely out of school, who leaves small town Pennsylvania to fly planes for the British ATA (akin to the US WASPs) during the last years of WWII. There's interaction with Maddie, the protagonist of Code Name Verity, but Rose's story is unique, particularly for younger American readers who may not have a good grasp of the role American women played during the war. Rose is captured in a flight that takes her away from the Allied occupied areas, and because she's a civilian and not a military POW, she's sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp for women. 

Like Wein's previous work, this novel again makes me want to stop teenage girls on the street, the ones who think YA novels are about sparkly vampires and the mopey girls who pine for them, and say, "Read this!" Rose Under Fire is about friendship between women, and survival, and sacrifice, and honor, and all those things important to a woman's life, and it's not about a woman's love life defining who she is. That, to me, is one of the most positive statements a YA novel can make for the intended audience, boys or girls.

The only thing that kept me from giving it five stars was that unlike Wein's last novel, Rose didn't stun me with its construction and ending. That doesn't make it any less worth reading, and I did stay up late at night to finish the book. I highly recommend it, for YA and adult readers.