Radar Girls is based on reality. The Women's Air Raid Defense was created in the Hawaiian Islands following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stations were formed on every island and the women staffing them were local, military wives and recruits from the mainland. This is a fascinating piece of history and Ackerman does a wonderful job bringing it alive.
Daisy Wilder is the protagonist in Ackerman's novel. A native islander, she has been making her living as a horse trainer when she is recruited for the WARDs. Having dropped out of school in grade ten, she's determined to prove to herself, and to the other women, that she can do this. She's very likable. I'm always looking forward to meeting the supporting cast in these WWII novels - having a team is (IMO), a mandatory element. Ackerman's supporting group of 'gals' is perfect. (There are some mean 'gals' too, but isn't there always?) I admit to having a soft spot for the bubbly Fluff. I think it's the 'can do' attitudes, the camaraderie of the women and their determination to help the war effort that really appeals to me. There's a romantic storyline as well for Daisy, but it doesn't overwhelm the work these trail blazing women are doing. Many of the other women also have their own matters of the heart.
There's lots of detail about how the radar actually worked. It seems so rudimentary compared to today's technology. But it worked and saved many lives. As well, her descriptions of the beaches had me wanting to visit Hawaii! The other settings are just as well drawn and I was able to easily imagine them.
I chose to listen to Radar Girls, especially after seeing that it was read by one of my favorite narrators - Cassandra Campbell. Her voice is quite pleasant to listen to - she has a smooth polished tone to her voice. Her speaking is well enunciated, easy to understand and the pacing is just right. She captures the female characters with different voices that perfectly suited each one. Daisy's voice was a little hesitant in the beginning, but as she builds her confidence it get stronger. The voice for Fluff was fun and sassy. She does male voices very well too, lowering the tone and cadence. The male voice for Daisy's love interest is believable. I've said it before and I'll say it again - listening to a book completely immerses me in the story. An excellent performance from Campbell - here's an audio excerpt.
Radar Girls is an excellent entry in the WWII fiction genre and one I would easily recommend! Well done Sara Ackerman!