Book Reviews

Book Review: Allies

by Alan Gratz

Dee is sixteen years old and made his way into World War II by fudging his birthday. Now, he is at D-Day, preparing to land on Omaha Beach.

Samira’s mother works with the French Resistance. After a sudden turn of events, Samira finds herself mixed up in the Resistance, working behind German lines to help the Allies.

John is a paratrooper, who keeps asking himself why he ever decided to join the army. He is also preparing to land at D-Day.

Henry is a medic. Rather than fighting Germans, Henry fights for the lives of the injured soldiers while the battle ranges around him.

All of these come from different backgrounds and have their own stories and secrets. But they are all at D-Day. Will everyone be able to fulfill their own goals and missions, which will work together to bring about victory?

I’d been wanting to learn more about D-Day for a while, so I was excited when I found Allies.

Throughout the story, we meet a soldier on the beaches, a person with ties to the French Resistance, a paratrooper, a tank driver, a medic, and a civilian who happened to be at Omaha Beach. Each one provides a different glimpse into D-Day and all of the events that took place. Gratz also has his characters be from different countries and ethnicity and shows how that affected their time at D-Day.

While Allies is about D-Day and Omaha Beach and the soldiers who fell throughout the course the day, I didn’t get bogged down in the violence or events going on. I think that was partially because the violence is happening around the point of view characters, rather than to the characters themselves for the most part. The times that the violence does involve a point of view character, it is brief and non-graphic. So while I was aware of what was happening, it didn’t feel heavy.

There was a touch more language in Allies than I normally prefer, but I think I could almost sense it coming and was able to gloss over most of it.

Overall, I think that Allies does a good job of showing an overview of D-Day without bogging the reader down in the heaviness of the subject and violence.

Cautions: ten swear words; four blasphemies; 2 instances of “coarser” language; moderate, non-graphic violence

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