What could be worse than a summer vacation with your grandmother and your bossy older sister?How about a road trip from California to Florida? Octavia and Tali's parents arrange for them to travel to a family reunion with their very unconventional grandmother who prefers to be called “Mare.” What the girls do not know is that Mare was a member of the African-American unit of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. During their travels, Mare relates her story, bit by bit. Octavia and Tali discover they have some very interesting relatives in their family tree.
This is a fascinating combination of history and fiction, filled with realistic characters who struggle with complex issues of racism, sibling rivalry, family feuds, and growing up.
341 pages 978-0375850776 Ages 12 and up
Best Books for Young Adults 2010
Children’s Books of the Year 2010 12-14
Recommended by Deborah E. Cohen
Book Pairing: Pair this book with Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone (Contributed by Tricia Stohr-Hunt)
Meet Mare, a World War II veteran and a grandmother like no other. She was once a willful teenager who escaped her less than perfect life in the deep South and lied about her age to join the African American Battalion of the Women's Army Corps. Now she is driving her granddaughters—two willful teenagers in their own rite—on a cross-country road trip. The girls are initially skeptical of Mare's flippy wigs and stilletos, but they soon find themselves entranced by the story she has to tell, and readers will be too.
Told in alternating chapters, half of which follow Mare through her experiences as a WAC and half of which follow Mare and her granddaughters on the road in the present day, this novel introduces readers to a larger-than-life character and a fascinating chapter in African American history.--from the publisher