Fly Girl by Sherry L. Smith
Ida B. Jones has loved to fly ever since her daddy taught her how on crop dusting runs. She dreams of getting her pilot license one day, but the fact that she is black and a woman makes it hard for her to achieve that dream. She tries to earn enough money to get to Chicago and attend a flight school for blacks, but the US enters the war when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and another opportunity appears.
The army creates the WASP—Woman Airforce Service Pilots, and she wants to join. Her brother Thomas has already joined the army as a medic, and she wants to help him get home faster. She also itches to get back in the air. She doesn’t think that the army will accept a black woman in the program, but she has light enough skin like her daddy to pass as white. Ida must make the decision to deny her own family in order to reach for her dreams.
I really loved this book! It is a historical novel that really brings you into the time period and makes you feel like you are really there. The author portrays the Jim Crow south and prejudice against woman and places her main character right in the middle of an internal conflict. Her dream of flying is sometimes thwarted by her color and other times by her gender, and this book has you hoping for her success the entire way. I really loved how this book has so many details about WASP basic training and missions. It really opened a whole new area of World War II history that I knew very little about before. I could see how some people could get bogged down with the historical details about flight training, but I think the author keep the tension going, pitting her characters against nasty flight instructors, tricky navigation tests, solo flights, and the very real danger of flight test crashes. If you love WWII history, or are looking for a unique historical novel, this one is a must read!
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