Title: Mare's War
Author: Tanita S. Davis
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school's library
Summary (from the inside flap): Sisters Octabia and Tali dread the road trip their parents are forcing them to take with their grandmother over the summer. After all, Mare isn't your typical grandmother. She drives a red sports car, wears stiletto heels, flippy wigs, and push-up bras, and inists that she is too young to be called Grandma. But somewhere on the road, Octavia and Tali discover there's more to Mare than what you see. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less-than-perfect life in the Deep South and lied about her age to join the 6888th African American battalion of the Women's Army Corps during World War II. The book is told in alternating chapters, half of them following Mare through her experiences as a WAC and half following Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day.
Review: What a good read! If you enjoy historical fiction this book is for you. The story covers World War II,
the Navajo code talkers (I could have sworn there was a mention of this, but 2 commenters say not so I delete this), what it was like for non-combatants in Europe, what it was like for women in WWII, what it was like for African American soldiers in WWII, life in the southern US for African Americans, and life in the US after WWII ended and the soldiers came home.
What makes this novel different from most historical fiction is that it is set in the present day, which I think makes it even more accessible for teenagers. We learn the historical fiction part as the grandmother tells her story to Octavia and Tia. In other words, you won't get bogged down in the historical fiction since there are breaks that bring the reader into the present day.
I also liked the relationship between the two sisters; it felt real and honest. They fought, they got along, they irritated each other, and more. And, if you read this blog enough, you know I like an Afterword that explains it all. Tanita Davis has a good one where she lists the books that helped her build the foundation of the novel and we get to find out what parts really did exist.