I picked this one up a few years ago and almost immediately had my copy stolen by a student who graduated with it in her possession. As a teacher, I tend to write that off as a good cause. Then I recently rebought it and started it reading it after seeing Dunkirk in the theater. It shares a few facile similarities….RAF…flying….British, but the stories are very different.
We start with a narrator who is clearly being held by Nazis introduce herself and begin to talk about her story up until this point. As the narrative moves on we come to understand that she is collaborating with the Nazis out of a self-reflective sense of self-preservation, which is neither expected (especially as we tend to think of characters in war movies and books) or honorable. Because this is a YA novel, I was thinking she must be a teenager, but she’s not, she’s a youngish adult. She narrates her life coming from Scotland, moving to England to help with the war effort, her fascination with flying, and her friendship with a young pilot named Maddie. As the novel progresses we learn more and more about their friendship, their time together, and how the narrator has ended up where she is.
I will stop there because this is a very surprising and rewarding novel.
I will be teaching a 12th grade English class this year for students with special ed accommodations and I am already thinking about how much fun this novel could be given its readability, its interest level, and other ways to connect it to the class.