Tanita S Davis: MARE’S WAR

Two teen sisters who don’t really get along that well are forced by their parents to accompany their eccentric grandmother on a cross country trip, thus ruining their summer vacation plans.

Along the way, their grandmother begins telling them the story of how and why she left home and joined the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) in World War II with the 6888th, the only “all-African-American, all female unit to serve overseas.



I really adored Mare’s War, which is a Young Adult contemporary fantasy (combined with a YA historical) There are two narrators: Younger sister Octavia tells the “Now” story and Mare (the grandmother) tells the “Then” story. This is not a dark, grim novel although it deals with serious subject matter. It’s sometimes funny, always humane, and the ending packs an emotional punch. (It brought good tears to my eyes.)

The dynamic between the sisters felt real to me and never became tedious or overwhelming. Their relationship with their grandmother, whom they do not quite understand or appreciate, is believably developed. Mare’s “then” story is engaging and vivid, and meanwhile Davis pulls off the difficult trick of educating the reader about a much overlooked piece of history without ever once making it feel didactic or educational.

I’m not particularly comfortable “reviewing” books. All I can say is that I highly recommend this novel. It’s an “easy read” without being simplistic (harder to pull off than it may seem), and a lovely story.