Sunday, August 8, 2021

Radar Girls

Radar Girls
  Radar Girls
Author:  Sara Ackmerman
Publication Information:  MIRA. 2021. 400 pages.
ISBN:  0778332047 / 978-0778332046

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley and the HTP Historical Fiction Summer 2021 blog tour free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "On Sunday mornings, while everyone else was singing and praying to the Lord above, Daisy could be found underwater with the pufferfish and the eagle rays."

Favorite Quote:  "Don't believe everything you hear about yourself. It tends to be false."

***** BLOG TOUR *****


As with Sara Ackerman's book Red Sky over Hawaii, the history of this book is 1941. Hawaii. Pearl Harbor. US enters WWII. The specific history is as follows.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a civilian organization named The Women's Air Raid Defense (WARD) formed to support the military air defense of Hawaii. The requirements for the women recruited was 
to be ages 20-34 years of age, to have no children, and to pass an Army intelligence test. The women received two weeks of training in plotting airplane positions using radar technology. After the two weeks. they were assigned a location and put to work. The unit was disbanded at the end of the war in 1945 although some officers remained in civil service after. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that radar technology was new and experimental at the time. The necessity of having the radar stations staffed outweighed the social constructs of the time regarding women and their roles.

Within this history is the story of twenty-three year old Daisy Wilder in Waialua, O'ahu. There is sadness in her life with references to her father's death and her mother's physical and mental well being. Daisy is clearly the only social, emotional, and financial support for her mother. Daisy is said to prefer horses to people. Being in the right place at the right time leads to her recruitment.

The story then proceeds to the the challenges these women faced with new tasks, new technology, new environment, and many many naysayers about a woman's ability to do the job. For Daisy, this journey is also about finding friendship and acceptance and a sisterhood, things that have been forever lacking from her life. The fact that the story is set in the 1940s, where this was not the prevalent route for women, it is wonderful to see strong female characters.

As with Red Sky over Hawaii, the book also features a romance. That is clear from the description and from almost the beginning of the story itself. As with many wartime books, the romance is that of a soldier off fighting and a girl on the home front. The difference is that this soldier is a pilot, and this girl is a radar girl actively involved in ensuring the safety of the pilots. The romance, however, goes exactly in the direction I would expect it to.

There is an additional side plot about a missing horse. Needed or not, it becomes another example of women coming together to support and raise each other up.

Ultimately, the book does what I love about historical fiction. It teaches me something new and sends me off on a search to learn more about the actual history of the Women's Air Rad Defense.

About the Book

WWII historical fiction inspired by the real women of the Women’s Air Raid Defense, RADAR GIRLS follows one unlikely recruit as she trains and serves in secrecy as a radar plotter on Hawaii. A tale of resilience and sisterhood, it sees the battles of the Pacific through the eyes of these pioneering women, and will appeal to fans of Kate Quinn and Pam Jenoff.

An extraordinary story inspired by the real Women’s Air Raid Defense, where an unlikely recruit and her sisters-in-arms forge their place in WWII history.

Daisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and saltwater to high heels and society parties. Then, in the dizzying aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Daisy enlists in a top-secret program, replacing male soldiers in a war zone for the first time. Under fear of imminent invasion, the WARDs guide pilots into blacked-out air strips and track unidentified planes across Pacific skies.

But not everyone thinks the women are up to the job, and the new recruits must rise above their differences and work side-by-side despite the resistance and heartache they meet along the way. With America’s future on the line, Daisy is determined to prove herself worthy. And with the man she’s falling in love with out on the front lines, she cannot fail. From radar towers on remote mountaintops to flooded bomb shelters, she’ll need her new team when the stakes are highest. Because the most important battles are fought—and won—together.

This inspiring and uplifting tale of pioneering, unsung heroines vividly transports the reader to wartime Hawaii, where one woman’s call to duty leads her to find courage, strength and sisterhood.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sara Ackerman was born and raised in Hawaii. She studied journalism and earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. When she's not writing or teaching, you'll find her in the mountains or in the ocean. She currently lives on the Big Island with her boyfriend and a houseful of bossy animals. Find out more about Sara and her books at and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

Q&A with Sara Ackerman

Q: What do you think drives authors to continue to find stories to tell set around WWII?
A: Perhaps it’s because there are still so many amazing untold stories out there? There are so many individuals with unique experiences during the war, all over the world, that the books could just keep coming. Also, I know for myself, while I’m researching for a novel, I often stumble upon something that makes me sit up and think, Wow, that would make a great story! And then I file it away for future consideration. This happened while I was researching for The Lieutenant’s Nurse, my second novel, and first heard about the Women’s Air Raid Defense. It’s how Radar Girls was born!

Q: How are you hoping readers will relate to Radar Girls?
A: I hope that readers will see a little bit of Daisy Wilder in themselves. I think it’s human nature to put yourself in the shoes of the characters and wonder about how you would react in a crisis. Would you rise to the occasion?

In Radar Girls, we have one woman trying to make her way in the world. Daisy is special in her own way, but no different than you or I, really. And then in one day, everything changes. Through her lens, we experience what it was like firsthand to live in wartime Hawaii, a very dark and scary time. We go along for the ride as she overcomes obstacles, deeply connects with other WARDS, falls in love, and proves herself as an important member of a critical command center Pearl Harbor. We feel her hopes, dreams and fears. As a reader, when I feel the humanity of a story, it makes me care. And when I care, I want to keep turning the pages. I hope that as readers turn the pages of Radar Girls, they will feel empowered and inspired and proud.

Q: What’s something that you connected with personally as you researched and wrote Radar Girls?
A: When I was reading about the real WARDs, the thing that stood out to me the most was how these women quickly became a sisterhood. And I know that many were still close and kept in touch until their dying days. I have a band of friends who I love like sisters, so this really resonated with me. I greatly admire how the WARDs held each other up and maintained such grace under pressure, as well as a great sense of humor throughout. It was so inspiring to me, and made me want to hug all of my friends.

Social Links

Author Website
Facebook: @ackermanbooks
Twitter: @AckermanBooks
Instagram: @saraackermanbooks

Buy Links
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