McBooks Press, 2011
I managed to snag this through LibraryThings's Early Reviewers program, and was really excited. I have always had an interest in aviation history, and this sounded right up my alley. Once I started reading though, I was a little disappointed - I'll explain in a minute. First, let me say that it is a good book - worth a read if you're interested in aviation history, or American women's history. Maybe some of my "eh"-reaction to the book was from taking in different expectations than what I received in the reading - if any of you read it, I'd love to hear what you think!
Okay, let's discuss the book itself. The premise is awesome: Sally, a 'self-trained' pilot from Texas, is part of the Army's WASP training program (Women Airforce Service Pilots). She and her fellow WASP students are being trained in flying 'the Army way' so they can then transport planes as needed for the Army to free up male pilots to fight and do 'official' World War II duties. Going in to the reading, I was expecting a bit more about the WASP trainees themselves - but this focuses pretty exclusively on Sally, with her introductions and involvement with a handful of other characters. Sidenote: I loved the other girls Sally 'hangs' with, especially Dixie - the secondary characters definitely added spice and color to Wings. There is, happily, a lot of airplane talk, and I was introduced to aspects of American aviation history I was not fully aware of previously - so from a historical fiction perspective, it definitely has merits (especially as a jumping-off point).
So where did my "eh"-reaction come from? I'm not wholly sure of any one given moment when I realized I wasn't crazy about this book, it was a more gradual "oh, this is really not what I was expecting..." The chronology felt a little awkward to me - the pace of what I was reading felt much slower than where I felt like I should have been in the story. I can deal with chronology issues, if I'm conscious to pay attention as I read (not my favorite technique, since I prefer to 'escape' into my reading rather than 'work' with it), so that's not a major negative point. I think my biggest 'issue' with the book is that I had a really hard time investing in Sally's story. She's a character who goes through a lot in life, with a fierce determination to succeed, but she doesn't actually grow. I got rather frustrated with her attitudes and choices, I wanted her to open her eyes and see what was going on - but she just kept on keepin' on the same old way.
On the whole? Wings is a decent historical read, especially if you have an interest in WWII or aviation history. It's a neat topic, and handled as best it can as the backdrop for Sally's story. So it's worth picking up if you're interested, but I would advise against it if you want a fast, quick read.
Book provided by publisher for review.