What would your life be like if military service was compulsory, not voluntary?
Aggie is eighteen and getting ready to do her service for the Israeli Army. She could get a cushy assignment--maybe pushing paper somewhere--or she could just take her chances. Only, Aggie isn't like that. Despite her small size and the fact that she needs to gain weight to even make the grade, and despite the total disbelief of her entire family (except her grandmother, who is an old freedom fighter and don't you forget it), Aggie is trying out for an elite combat unit.
Ben--Aggie's crush of the moment--isn't at all convinced that she's making the right choice. Shira, Aggie's best friend forever, is bewildered (and perhaps a bit too interested in Ben). Then there's Noah. And the serendipitous snow. And a good-bye kiss that turns into, well, a real kiss.
Luckily for Aggie, her backbreaking, sand-in-mouth, completely-lost-in-the-desert training produces an unlikely dividend: friends. The kind she never imagined she could have. The kind you'd go to war with--and for.
Author: Anna Levine
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
Source: Received from author courtesy of the Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to both Anna Levine, and Kari from Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of the blog tour for Freefall.
My rating: 4/5
In Israel, mandatory service in the army is required once you turn eighteen. Aggie, who has just turned eighteen is thrilled at the prospect of serving her country and hopes to serve in the elite combat unit despite the disbelief from those around her. She doesn't want to be stuck pushing paper in an office for the next several years and hopes to prove to her family, and to herself, that she has what it takes to join the elite combat unit.
Aggie is a go-getter, and she absolutely follows her dreams. She doesn't let the naysayers keep her down and sets out to prove that she can handle the training and hardships of being in an elite combat unit. She is plucky, fierce, loyal, and supremely intelligent. She is the embodiment of determination, grit, and strength. Through training she learns what it means to be part of a team, and to always have her partner's back. She makes friends, and will be there for them, through anything.
Though the focal point of the story is about Aggie's army aspirations, it also has a romantic subplot. Both plots work well together as we see how Aggie reacts to her growing feelings towards a certain young man, and to the disbelief she receives from her family. Through Freefall we realize how life must be like for those living in countries where danger is ever present. Though Aggie has her fears, she battles them, and asserts herself. She is a role model that we should all look up to.
All in all an inspiring read. Aggie shows us what it's like to fight for our dreams, to push ourselves to the limit, and to keep on going. She shows us what should matter most in our lives, and also succeeds at showing us what it means to honour our respective countries. Levine has created an exceptional read, full of heart-warming characters, and an eye-opening plot.