Levine, Anna. 2008. Freefall.
I am about to jump. I am about to jump wearing a full load on my back. Feet, knees, hip, back, roll. Crammed tightly, the pack is stuffed with my anxieties, fears--and army-issued parachute. It is secured to my chest with strings and clasps. It hold my heart in place, should it try to break free. When the time is right, I will yank the cord. At that moment, the pack will open. My fears will rise to the dome of my chute, where they will hover. And for a moment I will be free of them. Feet, knees, hip, back, roll.
I loved the opening of Freefall. It was a nice introduction to our heroine, Aggie, and her situation--she's an Israeli woman embarking on a new phase in her life: serving her country as a paratrooper. The book is set in Israel. And it features Aggie and her friends and family. Every person--man or woman--is required to serve their country for several years. It doesn't mean that all people see active combat duty, but for some it does. Aggie's family wants her to be assigned a desk job; a job where she'll be as safe as anyone can be in these dangerous days where terrorists can wreak havoc on ordinary citizens in their homes, schools, and workplaces. But Aggie...Aggie is considering joining an elite paratrooper troop (or are they called squads?). Regardless of the term, Aggie is considering active duty, something that will challenge her physically, mentally, and emotionally. The book is about more than army training--far from it--it's about life: friendship, family, and love. Aggie is falling for the brother of one of her best friends. And he just happens to be a solider.
What I enjoyed about Freefall is that it gives a new perspective. I don't know about you, but I don't come across many books set in Israel narrated by female soldiers, books that provide a unique take on what it is like to live in a country where the threat of terrorists or war (some threat or another) is always lurking. While there are elements that will more exotic to readers, there are many elements that will feel familiar--her thoughts, feelings, and concerns about friendship and love and life.
I liked Aggie, and you may like her too.