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Freefall by Anna Levine

June 2, 2009

Freefall by Anna Levine
published by Greenwillow Books September 16, 2008

At an age where American teens are graduating from high school and deciding what they want to do with the next few years of their lives, Israeli youths are preparing to be drafted into military service. Eighteen-year-old Aggie is getting ready for this leap. Though she has other alternatives, the petite, unusually intelligent young woman decides to train for combat.

Putting aside her friends and her first kiss with her crush, she goes to boot camp. While hauling sandbags in the scorching desert and performing other grueling tests of stamina, she discovers a new kind of friendship with the other young women in her troop. And when war breaks out on the Lebanese border, she faces bigger tests of loyalty, perseverance and courage.

I was thoroughly absorbed in this book. Every piece of this story — from the arid desert and boot camp food to life in a bomb shelter under a war zone — felt real. Having once been a teenager, I related to Aggie’s quotidian struggles to sort out relationships with guys and make decisions about her future. However, I also got to experience a kind of life I’ve never had to face. I could feel what it was like to trudge through the desert and the gut-wrenching fear of traveling across a war-torn country.

While it deals with the reality of war, this is an uplifting book. I recommend it for both teens and adults, particularly those who, like me, relish the opportunity to open a door to another part of the world.


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