Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-Lasky's latest historical fiction novel flies readers to World War II Europe on a life-threatening adventure. After her mother dies in their Stalingrad apartment from a Nazi sniper shot, 16-year-old Valya is determined to join her sister Tatyana in the Soviet Union's only all-female flight team, the 588th Night Bombing Regiment, better known as the Night Witches. Despite her age, Valya joins the Soviet war effort to thwart the Nazis in every possible way, including spending time in the trenches behind a machine gun. Valya finally makes it to the hidden Night Witch flight base, but her dream is shattered when she finds out that she must work on the ground crew before she is allowed to fly. When Tatyana disappears during one of her flights, it is a matter of when, rather than whether, Valya should risk her own life to rescue her sister. Although Valya's quick rise in the ranks is dubious, it keeps the story moving without too much lag time. Lasky effectively draws readers into a little-told facet of World War II history. There are a few instances of coarse language. VERDICT A strong addition to middle and high school historical fiction collections.-Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elementary School, Warren, MI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
While Valya's hunkered down in the bombed-out shell of her Stalingrad home, she's desperate to join her sister, a pilot with the Night Witches, named for their relentless, near-silent nighttime attacks on Nazi troops. After a few daring escapes, Valya makes her way to the temporary airfield where her sister is stationed. Much to her chagrin, Valya ends up stuck among the ground crew, but before long, she and her fellow aviatrixes flit though the sky, dodging bulky German planes and bombing supply reserves and searchlights. Though her prose is occasionally florid and moments of expository dialogue seem shoehorned in, Lasky shines when describing the Witches' bombing missions and amplifies the suspense when Valya is shot down behind enemy lines. The daring young women are all dynamically well rounded, particularly Valya, who oscillates between caring for and competing with her sister. Perhaps most thrilling of all is that the Night Witches were a real, all-women regiment, a fact that might encourage young readers to seek out the history of these daredevil heroes.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist