Saturday, November 2, 2019

YA Review: Allies by Alan Gratz

Title: Allies
AuthorAlan Gratz
Year Published: 2019


Genre: YA fiction (historical)
Pages: 307
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)France

FTC Disclosure: I bought this with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): June 6, 1944: The nazis are terrorizing Europe, on their evil quest to conquer the world. The only way to stop them? The biggest, most top-secret endeaor ever, with the Allied nations coming together to storm German-occupied France. Welcome to D-Day.

Dee, a young US soldier, is on a boat racing toward the French coast. And Dee--along with his brothers-in-arms--is terrified. He feels the weight of World War II on his shoulders. But Dee is not alone. Behind enemy lines in France, a girl name Samira words a a spy, trying to sabotage the German army. Meanwhile, paratrooper James leaps from his place to join a daring midnight raid. And in the thick of battle, Henry, a medic searches for lives to save.

In a breathtaking race against time, they all must fight to complete their high-stakes missions. But with betrayals and deadly risks at every turn, can the Allies do what it takes to win?

Review: Alan Gratz does middle grade historical fiction so well! As I read the hundreds of pages describing the D-Day attacks from various characters' perspectives, I felt that I could visualize it all. Watching the first 25 minutes of the movie Saving Private Ryan would be a great companion to reading this book.

The other thing that Gratz does like no one else is to teach middle grade readers about the events without the book feeling like a dense "history book." Through his characters the reader learns about geography, history, military action, segregation, and more. He doesn't treat his young readers as if they are stupid, but deftly weaves knowledge they probably don't have, but need to know, into his characters' stories.

And Gratz will always do well by his readers when he includes an Afterword that shows how his stories mirror the real history. I assume he hits the big historical truths, but am always amazed at how even the small stories are rooted in reality.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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