Thursday, November 6, 2008

Freefall by Anna Levine

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 weights 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.
(summary from jacket flap)

I have mixed feelings about this book. It was definitely an interesting read. I had never read  anything remotely related to it so in that respect it was a breath of fresh air. I have never actually read very much that's based outside of the US at all. Israel is a very prominent country and it has a culture that's so unique and different from my own, that while I was reading I was also receiving a lesson in world culture. You could tell the author knew what she was talking about on that basis. Also, Aggie was a wonderful character. She is spunky, energetic, and never gives up. Throughout the novel you can watch her grow and come to realize that she can be anything she wants to be. I also liked Lily a lot because she had so much life in her despite all of the troubles and problems she was dealing with. You have to admire someone who can keep a strong and positive attitude in the face of misfortune. Also, her and Aggie's relationship was one of the high points in the book for me. I could never really predict what would happen next with them! There were a few things about the book that didn't really click with me, though. One of my main problems was that there was too much going on. I found it hard to keep all of the characters and names straight. I think it would have been better if the book had been made a little longer so that the author could go more in depth with all of the characters and plot events. Also, I think the writing was just mediocre. While it got the story across, it wasn't exactly beautiful or flowing. In my mind, I think it was because Anna was rushed to get all of the story packed into a small amount of pages so she didn't have enough time to elaborate and focus more on the writing style. I definitely think that if the book had been maybe 100 pages longer, it could have been way better. And that's not saying that it isn't good already. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Aggie's pursuit to follow her dreams and stay true to her friends and family. The story was a unique one for sure and I'd recommend it to people who'd like to read something outside of the stereotypical "American teenager" books.


  1. Hmmm... seems like an interesting setting

  2. It's really interesting to hear about a book that talks about Israeli culture - I might pick it up to see the author's view on it.

  3. I agree with ellie. Israeli culture would be fascinating to read about!


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