Winnie's War by Jenny Moss
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on February 3, 2009
Published by Walker Childrens
Read From: 1.17.12 - 1.18.12
Winnie can't imagine a life any different from the one she lives in her small town of Coward Creek, Texas. The world may be at war, but she's perfectly happy going to school, playing chess with Mr. Levy, and stealing a private moment with her sweetheart, Nolan, to avoid her testy grandmother. Plus, she has her hands full taking care of her younger sisters - because even though their mama loves them, her troubled past makes her unlike most other mothers.
Then things take a turn Winnie never expected. The Great War had always seemed so far away, but when the soldiers return, they bring with them a new, deadly menace: the Spanish influenza. As the disease spreads through town, Winnie is desperate to keep her family out of its invisible grasp. Will a clever plan and some help from Nolan be enough to save her family?
Winnie's War is a beautifully-written "life time" story that seemingly promises to be exciting and perhaps something like Aftershocks, but instead is a pretty laid-back day-to-day tale that has no sudden, breath-stealing moments. Just like the disease this story concerns, things slip by quietly and end just as quietly. So don't expect there to be any action, not even on a mild level. It reads more like a Dear America - and Winnie is definitely as good a narrator as those long-dead voices of the girls in that series. The Reader sympathizes with her, feels incredibly sorry for her when, despite her best efforts, the influenza strikes her family - and hard. And while the town of Coward Creek is not real, it feels genuine, and several times I forgot that it doesn't really exist.
What I really wish this book had focused on a bit more is Winnie's decision to study medicine. I realize that this is a decision brought on by her witnessing the devastation of influenza in her community, but this is a book that could very well have been a lot longer, and it would have been nice of the Author had chosen to write a second part into it that covers some of Winnie's future life, as she trains to become a doctor. It would have made for a very fascinating and entertaining read.
Nevertheless, this was a good "life time" story - one of the better ones I've read, actually, and I liked it enough to buy.