Mini-Reviews: Female Pilots

Mini-Reviews: Female Pilots



When I have the choice between reading another book or reviewing the one I have just read, I usually choose to read another one. As much as I adore shouting about books on my blog, reading is, after all, my first love!

Therefore, I have decided to do some mini-review posts to tell you about some other books which I have read and think you might enjoy.

This time, the mini-reviews are all themed around female pilotswhich is a topic that interests me a lot, alongside wider stories of women during wartime, especially as the war effort was an important factor in women gaining suffrage. One author stands out in this particular niche so if you haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Wein, I’m here to persuade you that you should!

Skyward: The Story of Female Pilots in WWII by Sally Deng

The year is 1927, and in America, England and Russia, three young girls share the dream of becoming pilots. Against the odds, these ambitious young trailblazers follow their hearts, enrolling in pilot school (some in secret) and eventually flying for their countries in World War II.

Follow the adventures of these young female pioneers as they battle not only enemies in the skies but sexism and inequality in their own teams, and encounter legends like Jackie “Speed Queen” Cochran. Risking their lives countless times in feats of incredible bravery, the female air pilots–WASPS–of the Second World War are honored in this beautiful story based on actual events, illustrated in Sally Deng’s raw, dynamic style.

Picked this up when I spotted it at the library and absolutely loved it! It follows three women from different countries, each of whom becomes interested in planes and eventually becomes a pilot during the Second World War. I liked how it showed women from different countries and how some of the challenges they faced were the same while others were unique to their situation. I also found it particularly interesting that the American pilot featured was actually Asian American (based on the photograph that sparked the idea for the book) and was suspected of being a Japanese spy at one point, when her plan came down in rural America. The illustrations really add to the story and manage to fill the pages with personality as we see snippets of each woman’s life, plus how the men around them reacted with some being supportive and others challenging their right or ability to fly. This book is the perfect way to whet your appetite and it is refreshing to see the contributions made by these brave women finally being acknowledged.

Firebird by Elizabeth Wein

Nastia is no traitor. She is a daring pilot, the daughter of revolutionaries, and now, as the Second World War descends on Russia, she must fight to save the glorious Motherland. But all is not as it seems, and when the battles begin, secrets are revealed and everything that she once knew is challenged… A thrilling adventure brimming with historical detail and powerful female characters. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+

This was a book I was excited to read, largely because of loving Code Name Verity by the same author and it did not disappoint! Being one of Barrington Stoke’s titles with a dyslexia-friendly font and tinted pages, as well as a shorter length than most books for this age group, it is both wonderfully accessible and left me wanting more! The historical setting is fascinating and is skillfully evoked through small details. I loved the connections to more famous stories of the Russian Revolution and ended up researching more about pilots at the time after reading this!


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

I picked this up from the library a long time ago, having no idea of how much a book could truamatize me. This book is almost painfully clever and will stay with you forever more after reading it. The characters are so realistic and get under your skin. Reading this, you will care about them as if they were your own flesh and blood!


And, with Elizabeth Wein being the queen of writing about female pilots – here is one of her new releases which I am majorly excited about!

White Eagles by Elizabeth Wein

Summer 1939. With Europe on the brink of war, eighteen-year-old Kristina Tomiak has been called up to join the White Eagles, Poland’s valiant air force. When the Nazis reach the town where she is based, Kristina makes a daring escape, but she doesn’t realise that she’s carrying a stowaway in her plane. Will Kristina be able to navigate the most challenging flight of her life and reach safety amid the turmoil of war? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+

I am looking forward to reading this once it is out in September!


Have you read any of these books?

Would you like to read any of them after reading this post?

Could you recommend any other books featuring female pilots or soldiers?

What are you reading at the moment?

Check out some more mini-reviews themed around Girls in Politics, the Sea , Mermaids , Rescue Dogs , Clockwork or Circuses.

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of No Ballet Shoes in Syria, The Wise and The Wicked, The Day War Came, The Burning, Perfectly Preventable Deaths, Herstory or Power to the Princess?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I really liked Firebird when I read it last year- I especially enjoyed the reveal at the end! I DNF Code Name Verity when I tried it years ago, but I’ve always been tempted to try it again because I think it was me and not the book- it was my birthday and so I didn’t want to read something that I knew from the first few pages would wreck my emotions.
    Amy x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire are both brilliant, but they will completely destroy you! I was sobbing throughout the ending of both. Excellent, excellent books though so I would definitely recommend! x

      Liked by 1 person

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