Sherri L. Smith’s Flygirl has been getting great buzz through the kidlitosphere, and with good reason. Smith offers readers a story rooted in a fascinating and little known aspect of war history, a heroine with heart (and guts), plenty of high-flying adventure and rich themes to keep you thinking long after the book ends.

In 1940s Louisiana, Ida Mae Jones works hard cleaning people’s houses, earning money to help support her family after her father’s death. Aside from her devotion to her brothers, her Mama and her Grandy, she has one great love: flying. Taught by her father, Ida Mae can really fly, and she’d do just about anything to follow her dream to become a pilot. When she learns of the WASP program (Women Airforce Service Pilots), Ida Mae’s resolve is put to the test. She forges her father’s pilot license and heads to the training center, where she has to pass as a white woman in order to even be considered for the program. Ida Mae must keep her identity secret, a choice that disappoints her family and forces her to pretend to be someone she isn’t as she forges new friendships at the base. What follows is an account of her training, the challenges and risks of being a WASP, and the story of one young woman reaching for her greatest goal.

I loved Flygirl because it’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of Ida Mae’s journey, and in the gamble she takes in order to fly. Sherri L. Smith proves her writing skill by creating a convincing, fully-developed character and crafting a plot that is full of action. Isn’t that what the best writing delivers? Great character + plot that never stops.

This book is sure to get readers talking too, and will offer plenty for teens to relate to because it’s about making choices, deciding what you want and going after it, and staying true to yourself at the hardest moments. Flygirl explores many themes, among them: how the past and your own desires shape your identity, different kinds of sacrifice, and the courage it takes to dive into life. Truly a story of girl power, inspired by the women pilots who broke down many barriers at a time when the skies belonged to men.

I am so excited to be involved in Sherri’s upcoming blog tour. She will stop here at Shelf Elf on February 13th, and I’ll keep you posted when her tour starts with Little Willow at Bildungsroman on January 29th.

Flygirl is published by Putnam.

An interview with Sherri at 7-Imp

Other reviews:

Pulp Fiction Reviews
Book Loons
Armchair Reviews


5 thoughts on “Flygirl

  1. shelfelf Post author

    I’ll check out your review Amanda. It’s been getting so much attention around the kidlitosphere lately.

  2. Talula

    Kudos to the writer Sherri L. Smithfor this book, I’ll have to read it. It sounds like she really got the historical background right on the WASP’s sacrifices. I actually have the privilige to know one of those few surviving WASPs and she is still an amazing woman. She is 94 and still a very active member of the American Legion in our area locally and the state level, supporting the active military members at an Air National Guard base across the street from the American Legion Post. My friend’s profile was used to represent the group in a statue depicting their service a couple of years ago & is well known in our state. Sounds like Ida Mae Jones was just as amazing and will make this book a treat to read for young girls with dreams of achieving gratness.

  3. Pingback: Author Interview: Sherri L. Smith « Shelf Elf: read, write, rave.

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