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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

All Ida Mae Jones wants to do is fly. Her daddy was a pilot, and years after his death she feels closest to him when she's in the air. But as a young black woman in 1940's Louisiana, she knows the sky is off limits to her, until America enters World War II, and the Army forms the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Ida has a chance to fulfill her dream if she's willing to use her light skin to pass as a white girl. She wants to fly more than anything, but Ida soon learns that denying one's self and family is a heavy burden, and ultimately it's not what you do but who you are that's most important.…


by Sherri L. Smith

Overall Book Review:

Set on the brink of the United States’ entry into WWII, Flygirl is a rare and intriguing look into both the life of a young, black woman in the south, and the WASP (Women Air Service Pilots).  Ida Mae Jones, a housemaid in Louisiana, has her heart set on being a pilot in the air force.  When she learns  about the WASP, Ida is determined that she will fly.  She takes a life-changing risk that she hopes will turn her dream into a reality.  Ida Mae is a easy character to love and become attached to.  Her unique personal trials add a new depth to the already fascinating (and little- known) setting of the WASP.  My only disappointment in this story was the ending.  After developing such a personal story (with all the inner-searching and discussion of which path in life she will take) the story ends, just as she is about to make her choice, and the reader is left to wonder what she will do.  I can only hope that there is a sequel somewhere out there on Sherri’s laptop, waiting to find it’s way to my hands, because I’m dying to find out which life path she chooses! A memorable read, Sherri L. Smith has crafted a coming-of-age story that is filled with the perfect mix of adventure, self-discovery, loss, and triumph.

Content Analysis:

There is absolutely no sexual content in this book. 

The first mild incidence of violence is a character getting slapped.  The second is when Ida remembers how her father died, in a farming accident, but it is very, very mild. 

The profanity included two very mild exclamations, and a two instances of an extremely strong and derogatory racial word.

Mature Subject Matter:

The mild mature theme rating is for incidents/discussions of segregation, and because Ida Mae is bi-racial, she struggles with having to choose if she will “pass” for white, or stay with her family.  This is a great example of good, clean YA novel.  Overall, Flygirl is recommended as a fantastic, clean read for ages 14+.    

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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Please note that reviews dated prior to February 1, 2012 came from and had a more informal content review process. Those reviews have been added to our database because they have a lot of great content information, but their format will look different and there may be wider variation in those reviews.