FLY LIKE A GIRL by Mary Jennings Hegar


One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front
Age Range: 13 - 18
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A young woman powered by her dreams and love of country takes on sexism in the military as an officer and civilian activist.

In this young readers’ adaptation of Shoot Like a Girl (2017), Hegar takes readers on an intimate narrative of her journey to becoming a decorated Air National Guard pilot who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. A litany of obstacles failed to deter her, including physical injuries, personal and professional setbacks, isolation, and sexism in many forms, from overt to subtle. Growing up in Texas as a cherished stepdaughter following a traumatic early childhood in a household of domestic violence, Hegar, who is white, effortlessly weaves dialogue and vivid action sequences into her first-person narration. She shies away from little, including reflection on her own mistakes, while celebrating her successes and acknowledging male allies. The narrative presents a compelling, exhilarating view into one of the U.S. military’s most entrenched areas for improvement—fully embracing women. Hegar honestly presents her experience with sexual assault by an Air Force physician, but she is surprisingly unreflective about Afghans she encounters and does not delve deeply into gender dynamics with other women in the military. She notably contributed to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit that reversed a ban on women in ground combat.

An honest portrayal of one woman’s battles in and out of combat zones. (author’s note, discussion questions, Q&A with author) (Memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: March 3rd, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-593-11776-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2020


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