War and Me
YA Historical Fiction
Flying model airplanes isn’t cool, not for fifteen-year-old girls in the 1940’s. No one understands Julianna’s love of flying model airplanes but her dad. When he leaves to fly bomber planes in Europe forcing Julianna to deal with her mother’s growing depression alone, she feels abandoned. But Ben, the new boy in town, likes her odd hobby. She falls hard despite her best friend’s mistrust. Navigating the uncertainties of a first love with an emotionally absent mother and a skeptical best friend proves a challenge.
Daily the realities of war invade Julianna’s world, especially when her first Valentine’s Day dance with Ben is ripped apart by the news of another Bridgmont casualty. Soon after, Ben drops his own bomb into her life when he decides to join the war. He hopes his secret repair of her beloved Super Buccaneer model plane will be enough for her to forgive him as he prepares to deploy. But the longer Ben is gone, the more Julianna has to consider whether letting her first love drift away would be easier than hearing of any more casualties.
Love, loss, and self-discovery amidst scrap metal competitions, rationing, air raid drills, USO events, and the news of the day from overseas place the reader on the American homefront in the 1940’s, but the emotions are much the same as those of teenage girls today.
First 150 Words:
It’s funny the things you do when you’re paired against an adversary called War. The thought of collecting other people’s junk a few years ago would have disgusted me. But if hunting for scrap metal to turn into weapons to defeat America’s enemies would bring Dad home sooner, then I’d do it.
“Julianna, let’s get down to the river,” said Caroline. “Hurry! No way that boy’s getting dibs on the scrap metal out there.”
I couldn’t stop staring at the unfamiliar boy across the river. He wasn’t from Bridgmont. I was sure.
“Maybe we should walk down river a bit. I don’t want to look like we’re taking over that boy’s territory,” I said.
“No way. We go upriver because anything washing downriver he’ll have first chance at. We’re winning this contest. I need that money to buy a real dinner,” said Caroline. “One night without rations.”
So that’s what we did.