Friendship and Survival in Michael Grant’s ‘Front Lines’: “you and me honey. All the way through.”

Front Lines‘Front Lines’ is a compelling and emotional journey following the ‘what if’ alternative history of women fighting in the same roles as men in WWII.

The story follows Rainy, Frangie and best friends Rio and Jenou as they make their way through basic training and into the theatre of war.

It quickly becomes clear that all that matters is trust. Gender is no longer an issue when the bullets fly and the bombs drop. Your life, male or female, could depend on the soldier next to you.

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That soldier doesn’t have to be your friend, but for Rio and Jenou, friendship becomes an important factor in the survival of themselves both physically and mentally.

“Rio does not want to remember home. She is here. Here.”

“Here” is the battlefield, but whether through luck or coincidence, Rio doesn’t need to remember home, as a little bit of home is with her always in the shape of her sassy BFF Jenou. It’s not unlike the Ellie Goulding song ‘Army’, both girls have the strength to fight and to keep going with each other to lean on.

“Rio feels Jenou’s hand fumbling for hers…They squeeze hard, reminding each other that they were still here, together, alive.”

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The whole squad becomes tight-knit, but the bond between the two girls is undeniable. They’re beautifully magnetic.

“She starts to run, sees Jenou is frozen, runs back to grab her friend’s shoulder, a handful of uniform, pulls her along”.

Rio’s character has been noted to go through the most significant change. She visibly hardens and turns into something that she does not necessarily like, but is, unfortunately, an unavoidable part of war. Rio is a sharpshooter, and her careful trigger finger has helped keep many of them alive. But contrasted against Rio’s toughness, is Jenou’s soft shell. Jenou goes through her own changes, but remains the sassy, but sensitive, hometown girl.

“I can’t do this, honey. I’m not made for this like you are.”

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But these differences in personality and vulnerability only seem to strengthen their relationship. Jenou can be all the things Rio cannot, and vice versa.

Without a doubt these two have come through for each other and the fact that their friendship survives something as large and as life-altering as war shows how important just one person can be.

“You’re my best friend, Rio. I would not have made it without you.”

It’s quite literally, “…you and me honey. All the way through.”

‘Front Lines’ is out now, and you can grab your copy here.

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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