She took my challenge seriously and the result is her first foray into middle grade historical fiction, SHE STARTED IT ALL.
Told in two points of view, SHE STARTED IT ALL brings the story of the "forgotten" bomber- a plane purchased with money raised by Michigan students during WWII--into Joe Gerrard and Sandi Howard's eighth grade classroom.
Of course, when the two students receive their history assignments they don't know what lies in wait for them. All they know is that they receive topics they don't like. Sandi wants to cover the music of the time period and instead is asked to report on WWII aircraft; Joe wants to do a project on the bombers he's passionate about, but instead he's required to research United States War Bonds and War Loan Stamps. Their teacher, Mrs. Bradley, says, "As you work through your projects, maybe you'll discover something that will make history itself." A statement that proves to be true in unexpected ways.
If you add to this set-up the fact that Sandi is a shy "Brainiac" with a secret crush on Joe and that he is the popular jock at school--then you have a recipe for conflict. In fact, their constant misperceptions of each other and the cliff-hanger endings to each chapter make the book a page-turner.
The author does a good job of including historical facts so that the reader learns about WWII without feeling overwhelmed with information. The contemporary setting of a modern middle school and authentic language also makes the book accessible to today's readers.
I'm a huge fan of using facts in fiction (including real people when possible) as well as inter-generational stories. Both of these are present in this novel. Both Sandi and Joe receive help from elderly primary sources which adds further authenticity to the story.
As for the ending? Well, let's just say it's perfect.
If you'd like to receive a personally autographed copy of SHE STARTED IT ALL, please enter my giveaway! Leave me a comment by September 13 along with your email address if you are new to my blog. Share this on social media (and tell me what you did) and I'll enter your name twice!