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Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn't stop him from fulfilling his dreams But her daddy's gone now and being a woman and being black are two strikes against her When America enters the war with Germany and Japan the Army creates the WASP the Women Airforce Service Pilots and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific But even the WASP won't accept her as a black woman forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of passing of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program Hiding one's racial heritage denying one's family denying one's self is a heavy burden And while Ida Mae chases her dream she must also decide who it is she really wants to be


10 thoughts on “Flygirl

  1. says:

    Don't read this because of the blurb on the back by NewberyPrintz teacher's pet Jacueline WoodsonDon't read it just because it's a window on a seldom told story of women in WWII Don't read it just because of the theme of an African American woman trying to pass for white in the segregated world of the 1940s Don't read it just because you're looking for another girls can do anything they put their minds to it despite the odds sort of readRead it because it's well written well researched and has a totally believable heroineIda Mae Jones and her world come alive in this book and anyone teen or adult who reads it will be drawn into the storyThis is what good storytelling is all about pure and simple


  2. says:

    I keep an eye open for every book Sherri L Smith publishes and I'm never disappointed This is the story of a young woman of color the daughter of a flyer who passes as white to join the WASPs and fly for her country during WWII Her goal to serve her country is admirable but can she find peace with herself and her color as well? You'll have to read to find out and you'll be glad you did


  3. says:

    Sherri L Smith's Flygirl is a gem of a novel taking place during the middle of World War II where a young woman enlists as a pilot in the army However in doing so she not only faces the dangers that await her in the sky but an everyday danger as she hides her racial identity in order to make her dreams happen I loved the writing the strength of the characterizations and the overarching story as it deals with many difficult issues of the time racism sexism and issues of identity and overcoming odds Ida Mae Jones is a strong smart savvy protagonist and I wish there were characters like her in the YA genreI really wish there were novels like this in the genre in general because it's not just the fact that this novel sets the place time and social environment very well the research is impeccably done but it also brings to the forefront very real characters Ida Mae is a sweetheart her best friend Jolene is hilarious and her family is front and center in the novel through their ups and downs Even as Ide Mae hides her identity as a part of the WASP group you get to know the ladies she accompanies very well there and learn how Ida's drawn to them The story sucked me into the very real stakes that Ida Mae faces with respect to her gender and race and I certainly felt for and identified with her Yet the reader follows Ida Mae's determination in her goals her triumphs her heartaches in the realm of loss and even loveI would very highly recommend Flygirl for anyone who wants to read a story of a young woman's determination to achieve her dreams in the face of prejudice in a very different time than our own I think even those who read YA that don't normally read historical fiction would find this an immersive read and one well worth the time spentOverall 455


  4. says:

    A fun read I got very caught up in it about halfway through especially during Ida Mae’s WASP training The plot suffers a bit from lack of drive nothing really connects one flight to another And also it ended rather abruptly and without proper closure But the characters are distinct and engaging and the portrait of a typical WASP a pretty fascinating subject by any account is made even intriguing by the added tension of black Ida Mae’s having to pretend to be a white girl in the 1940s south in order to keep her job In truth I found the constant highwire play acting of her charade to be nearly as nerve racking as that of a Resistance spy in Nazi occupied France


  5. says:

    Flygirls by Sherri L Smith is an absolute must read for fans of historical fiction that draws on real life events I was right there the entire ride through all the ups and downs alongside Ida Mae This novel also deals with race and passing especially in regards to Southern America and the military and it's a fascinating if at times entirely overwhelming and crushing that being said the author handles everything well If you're interested in women in World War II particularly the WASPs you need to to read this novel right away


  6. says:

    Originally Veronica picked it up at a school book sale So yes I've been meaning to read it since she was in elementary school But Natasha spotted it and read it as part of her 40 Book Genre Challenge for school And she loved it So then I started it and it was on my bedside table when the crew swept in removed everything from my house made the floor 34 of an inch taller and put everything or less back So on the day itself when I had time to read I couldn't lay hands on a single book But after a week I opened a box labeled organic cabbages and there it was Also my alarm clock So yay I got to finish it which means Natasha can loan it to someone else who is waiting after Thanksgiving break And no surprise here I loved it Well duh Books about flight captivate me ever since The Little Prince and A Girl Can Dream I didn't uite grow up with photographs of Kitty Hawk and biplanes on my wall but I have always loved books about flying And yeah my father was in the Air Force and I still bear a grudge because they wouldn't teach me to fly jetsSorry Ida Mae Jones unlike me could actually fly a plane Her father had one for crop dusting and she'd grown up in it But with rationing and war she can't get fuel and with being a woman she couldn't get a license from a sexist inspector She's had to give up on the idea of flying until she sees a photo of a Chinese American WASP Maybe Uncle Sam's need for pilots is stronger than racism she thinks Well no So she spends the rest of the book trying to pass as white On top of the sexism against WASP it's a very tough row to hoe How Ida Mae goes from being a maid in Louisiana to a successful wartime pilot is a marvelous story She puts up with so much racism sexism classism bureaucratic indifference that you can't help but root for her and her classmates And a shout out to the author for linksbibliography on WASP Looking at the photos of the period added depth to the whole thing Especially seeing Walt Disney's gremlin We fundamentally misunderstood how this was going to happen you see we thought the crew would lay floor in one room at a time and we would sort of move everything out and right back Instead the crew stripped the entire house put down floor in every room simultaneously and put everything back Except all the books and stuff had been placed in boxes marked with liuor brands or organic cabbage nothing had an individual or specific label as to what was inside it Not my brightest moment


  7. says:

    Interesting concept but I didn't think the writing or the plot was that well developed It was a fairly short book but it took me longer than I thought to get through it because it just didn't grab me I liked the characters but again it was hard to get into the book and become very connected to them The concept of passing was interesting to me and the conflict and stress it introduced for Ida Mae but when the book ended and we were left hanging on what would happen in her future the uestion of whether she'd continue to pass or not or whether she'd choose to go home to her family or sever those ties was still left open too and it just felt very unresolved The author mentioned in her notes that she wrote this book for a thesis project but it didn't feel developed enough or with enough historical information to be a thesis project let alone a fully developed book I just basically wanted from this book that I didn't get


  8. says:

    A fantastic well researched engaging historical fiction with important messages about identity Ida Mae was an exceptional protagonist The plot was a bit clumsy at times but the distinct characters certainly made up for it For fans of historical fiction or women in aviation I would certainly recommend


  9. says:

    First sentence It's Sunday afternoon and the phonograph player is jumping like a clown in a parade the way Jolene and I are dancing Ida Mae Jones just wants to fly Ever since her father taught her in his crop duster she has never felt at home than in the cockpit of a plane Now there is a war on and Ida Mae wants to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots WASP to help with the war effort The only roadblock is that the WASP does not accept African American girls Ida Mae faces the difficult choice of passing as white or giving up her dream of flying I haven't read a lot of books about World War II and knew next to nothing about the WASP before reading this book This book was a great well researched introduction to this part of the war The WASP ferried planes across the country so they could be delivered overseas hauled targets for artillery practice and tested planes before the male pilots flew them They faced many dangers and some of them made the ultimate sacrifice However instead of respect they received discrimination It took 30 years for Congress to award them full military honors and benefits They were seen as loose women who didn't know their place instead of women doing their part for the war effort The book did a great job of showing what these women went through The author also does well in showing the racial attitudes of the day Ida Mae being a light skinned African American has to deal with prejudice in a different way She didn't really belong to either side of the color line Her darker skinned counterparts feel that she thinks she is better than them with her good hair and light skin And although she is good at passing for white there is always that fear that she will be found out It was an interesting take on the racial divide My only problem with this book is the ending The book just stops Its not mid scene or a cliffhanger leading into a seuel Its just all the sudden BAM the end I would have liked of an epilogue about what happened after with everyone I very much dislike open endingsThe book was very well researched and a great story that seldom gets told The characters are extremely compelling and easy to relate to The book has a very good message about following one's dreams and making tough choices I enjoyed it very much It's well worth a read By the way Defying Gravity from the Wicked soundtrack is an awesome accompaniment to the book


  10. says:

    Ida Mae is an African American who's light skinned enough to pass as white Although most other African Americans would be rejected from serving she uses her light skin to join the WASPWomen Airforce Service Pilots and begin she hopes to serve her fighting brother and country Underlying the historical aspects were beautiful dynamics of flying in the stead of her late father finding identity and her desire to stay pretty and feminine rather than be one of the boys The biggest thing that got me was her use of deceit She pretends she's a licensed pilot when she's not and pretends she can swim when she can't Of course she was as knowledgable as a licensed pilot and she learns to swim after lying but it's just one of those pet peeves I can't repress While the book would perhaps best be reserved for the high school agesome mature subject matter some words I respected Sherri L Smith's avoidance of dirty content I liked just about everything else and would suggest it to those looking for an exciting but easy education on WASP