When I first chose to read Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, I was expecting a different account of the classic WWII stories we hear about in class. It did not disappoint. The historical fiction novel follows the story of an African American woman, Ida Mae Jones, with a passion for flying. She had a dream of becoming a pilot like her late father, but due to discrimination, she was unable to pursue that dream. Until she faked a license and pretended to be a white woman, that is. Ida Mae was then able to join the WASP, or Women’s Air Service Pilots, but at the expense of her real life, family, and true self, as she faced discrimination and faked her race. She is then forced to deal with the effects of these things while trying to focus on her main task: helping her country during the war. I liked how although the book takes place during a World War, something we read and hear a lot of, this story took on a different perspective of the event and taught me about the WASP (which I had never heard of prior). One thing I did not like as much was that the stories told of training at the bases seemed to lack the depth of what it would really entail, and those sections of the book almost seemed rushed, making it boring. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and its message. On page 215, Ida Mae’s grandfather said, “You see, we all have our nature at the core of everything we do. There’s no changing it, no matter how we try. That’s why… you have to fly, no matter what it takes.” This shows that through Ida Mae’s story, Sherri L. Smith teaches readers that they should follow their dreams diligently, as nothing is more important than who they really are inside. This makes the novel encouraging and inspirational and allows it to connect to all readers. If you enjoy historical fiction novels that feature empowerment and passion with a strong female lead, this book is for you.

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