Front Lines (Front Lines #1) by Michael Grant: Book Review

Title: Front Lines
Author: Michael Grant
Publication details: January 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Front Lines #1
Genre: War historical fiction, young adult, alternate history

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.

Women played a lot of roles during World War II. Whether officially in the service or indirectly helping the cause, we cannot ignore how vital women were in these times. Without their help, the war would definitely not be won.

I have read quite a few books highlighting these roles- pilots, spies, and other non-combatant roles. But never have I read something where women were in the front lines during World War II. And so when I saw this book and read the synopsis, I was really intrigued and knew that I had to read it as soon as possible.

Front Lines is a re-imagination of World War II where women and girls were alongside men in fighting the war. The book starts with one of the characters, typing her memoirs of the war while awaiting the official announcement that the Allied won. Written in first POV, we have a glimpse of what is to come as she tells her story. And from there, readers are taken back to how and where everything started.

Front Lines is divided into two parts. Part 1 is where the three main female characters -Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman- are introduced. And Part 2 is the war section.

Each chapter looks into one character's life- her dreams, doubts, struggles and her role in the war. There is also a shift in POV to third person omniscient perspective, and because of this, I was able to see widely into the characters' lives. They are all three-dimensional, and quite relatable. I liked how I was able to see women being acknowledged for their character and skills, not for the physical attributes and most definitely not for the gender. I liked how some secondary characters were able to see past the status quo and recognize the important roles of women in the war.

I think most, if not all, of the events contributed to the characters' arcs, as well as the plot's. And as the story progresses, especially in Part 2, these are all woven together to create a gripping story of not just war, but also of brotherhood/sisterhood.

Part 2 is where the action begins- from the characters' deployment to the actual battle. Though it is not as action-packed as I expected, a lot still happened that tested the characters. It also has faster pacing which gave me a 'gripping' vibe as I was reading.

In Part 2, I also got to see how the three characters meet, how their stories intertwine. Front Lines being only the first book in a trilogy, I am intrigued to read in the next books how their relationships and dynamics will be built further, especially during tough times.

Looking past the gender plot element, another thing I liked is how the war is presented/told. I think the author was able to describe the war and the battles such that its ugliness was not hidden- the goriness of a soldier's death, the uncertainties of each soldier and their superiors, the heaviness of blindly shouldering responsibilities, fighting war, and trying to stay alive.

There were some scenes I was not able to get into because of the technical terms. However, I don't think it significantly diminished my reading experience even though I did not look them up. Overall, the author was still able to sustain my curiosity despite those technicalities, and I was still able to have a good reading experience.

The ending was quite anti-climactic but nevertheless made me want to continue with the trilogy. As I have mentioned, Front Lines is just the first book so I am interested to see how the characters and their stories will develop.


Overall, I really liked Front Lines. It is not only a war story and a story of what might have been if women were in the front lines, but it is also a story of human strength and camaraderie. Moreover, it is a story of every woman who fought, and is fighting a battle. It is a story of friendship, of what it means to be a sister or a brother to the people closest to you.

I cannot wait to continue with the trilogy! I only have to buy the third book so I can read the second book.

If you are a fan of war fiction, I definitely recommend Front Lines by Michael Grant.