Cover Image: Radar Girls

Radar Girls

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Member Reviews

Radar Girls provides a unique perspective on the lives of so many women involved in the war effort during World War II. Everything about this novel was great down to the character development, to the gut wrenching twists/stories and beyond. I would highly recommend this to those who enjoy WWII focus historical romances/fiction.

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This novel is my first novel by @saraackermanbooks and I’m so impressed! This is Sara’s 4th novel, so I’ll be adding her other books to my TBR!

Daisy Wilder prefers the company of horses to people, bare feet and salt water 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 airstrips 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 for 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.

I love books about strong and brave women and Daisy is definitely a shining example of this. I found this book so empowering and inspiring.

Thank you so much to @saraackermanbooks, @_mira_books, and @suzyapprovedbooks for my ARC copy.

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3.5 stars.

“Seems like war has always been around, mostly because men are unable to come to agreement in other ways.”—Sara Ackerman, Radar Girls.

Daisy Wilder is a 23-year-old ranch hand who supports her sick mother and loves horses and Hawaii’s natural beauty. However, when the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor shakes their world, she not only loses her beloved horse but also her job.

Following the Pearl Harbor attack, Daisy joins Women’s Air Raid Defense. There, she learns to guide pilots in dark skies and track suspicious planes over the Pacific. Yet not everyone believes in the abilities of these women, despite the nation’s future hanging in the balance.

With unwavering determination and the man she's falling for at the front lines, Daisy is determined to prove herself. Amidst the challenges, Daisy and her newfound friends discover both romance and embark on a quest to find her missing horse. Through it all, Daisy’s self-esteem soars, and she uncovers love, courage, strength, and the power of sisterhood.

My feelings about this book are mixed. Although I enjoyed learning about women's contributions in WWII Hawaii, there were some cliches that caught my attention. The romantic subplot, though clean and suitable for all ages, followed a well-worn path: a woman resisting her attraction to a handsome man, a blossoming relationship, and a potentially relationship-threatening secret. 

I alternated between reading and listening to this novel. For those who prefer audiobooks, narrator Cassandra Campbell is among the best in the business. 3.5 stars. 

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy. The opinions are my own.

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I appreciate the publisher allowing me to read this book. This is a really good book. it kept me interested until the end and I even felt like I learned something a nice bonus. Highly recommend.

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Radar Girls By Sara Ackerman is a wonderful story of hope, courage and strength against all odds the women must prove themselves amongst the deadliest situations. If you love historical fiction and World War II stories of inspiration then this is a great book for you! Happy reading!

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This was my first book by this author, It was pretty enjoyable. I would give this book a 3.5 star rating! It was a pretty Quick and easy read!

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I loved this historical fiction perspective of the civilians living in Hawaii during and after the incident at Pearl Harbor. That made for a fun aspect to learn about and made me consider what life was like on HI then. The bravery and intelligence of the Radar Girls was really impressive.

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A beautiful storyteller, one I'll definitely be reading more of! I'm looking forward to reading The Codebreaker's Secret!

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After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army recruits women from the Hawaiian islands to work in the Air Defense Command Center. Their job is to read the radar to keep skies and water safe and help pilots to land safely. This book is about their story.
This is a fantastic read about Daisy and the group of women she works with. I was hooked from the very beginning of the story and didn’t want to stop reading! I learned a lot about the radar system and the courage it took to help pilots maneuver safely. I enjoyed the love story between Daisy and Walker and the tight-knit community of the radar girls. The book is full of emotion and action. It is perfect for historical fiction fans!

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin- Trade Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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I had no previous knowledge of these women before reading, and I really enjoyed reading about them! I think this book did a great job balancing the narrative with the history.

I received an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.

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Loved this book! I am loving all the WWII-era fiction, especially about women aviators. Daisy was not a pilot, but this book introduced me to other ways women were involved with the war effort. I was not familiar with this aspect, but the book inspired me to learn more about the real women who did this work.

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I enjoyed this book. The characters were engaging and likable, the plot was intriguing and I learned a lot about the role of women in manning radar operations in Hawaii after the U.S. entered World War II. I think the quality of the writing could be better, but that didn't take away too much from my enjoyment of the book.

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Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman is a unique WWII novel with its setting in Hawaii. The story was inspired by the actual Women's Air Raid Defense (WARD), a civilian organization that worked with the military to provide air defense for Hawaii. It was formed in December 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and this event is described in the very first chapter.

Most of the man characters are women from a variety of backgrounds who answer the call to be WARDs, including military wives and local residents of upper and lower social classes. Readers follow along as they form friendships, learn their new roles, and find ways to relieve stress and have a little fun. Their interactions with the military pilots and officers were interesting since the program was new and unique. Of course there's a romance and happily-ever-after ending.

I read this on a cold, snowy weekend so the descriptions of lush Hawaiian landscapes and warm ocean breezes provided a delightful escape. It was so interesting to learn about the WARD and the role civilian women played in defending Hawaii. The audiobook is narrated by Cassandra Campbell, one of my favorites. I always appreciate having her voice in my ears, telling me another interesting story.

Thank you to Mira Books and NetGalley for the review copy of this title and the mini virtual getaway to Hawaii..

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What a eye opening story about women replacing men in wartime,which had to be done in so many situations,every country that was at war with Germany and Japan..follow this team of women in Hawaii where they have a secret and it's a need to know situation . Follow their adventures,love and losses as they try to do their part to win this war! Fiction history plays a part as I learned so much more about this war and so will you!! The characters bring you into their world as they saw what was happening to them and their country!! Received from Net Gallery!! Sara Ackerman did a fantastic job on this story as she brings you again as I said into their world!!

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I feel bad that I took so long to read this book because it was such a great read!

I've read a bit about Pearl Harbor and I knew a bit but I had no idea about the women who were doing the radar. They are so fascinating and inspiring! I know these women are fictitious but the real women they are based on, dannng.

This story starts with the day of Pearl Harbor and continues from there. It centers around one woman but it encompasses the story of more than just her.

This is an excellent novel for those that want to learn more about parts of WWII that aren't often covered or who just need some YASSS GIRL energy in their life.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for an eARC copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

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I enjoyed the setting of this WWII historical fiction novel. It showed a different view point of what you typically get with WWII historical fiction. The characters were put together well, and you felt like you were right there with them as a WARD yourself. My only downside is that it almost had too much of a happy ending. Everything was resolved perfectly, which I typically love in a book. But with historical fiction you are typically left to pick up your shredded heart off of the ground. Still, an amazing book and I look forward to reading more by the author.

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While conducting research for her previous novel, The Lieutenant's Nurse, author Sara Ackerman happened upon information about the Women's Air Raid Defense (WARD), a program she had never heard about growing up in Hawaii in the 1970s and hearing stories about World War II from her parents and grandparents. It was formed by Emergency Order 9063 immediately after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The women were recruited from Hawaii and the mainland, sworn to strictest secrecy, and assigned to command centers and radar stations established on each island. They were hastily trained about radar, codes, and complicated calculations. They were taught to guide pilots as they landed aircraft on runways darkened for security purposes, or talk them through treacherous flights back from the frontlines of battle. Their code name was Rascal, while the military personnel manning the radar stations were referred to as Oscar.

The story opens on December 7, 1941, with an action-packed first chapter entitled "The Sky Falls." Daisy Wilder, is swimming near Waialua, O'ahu on that peaceful Sunday morning when the horse she borrowed, Moon, appears to have been spooked by something. Daisy was supposed to ride Ka'ena, but took Moon instead without the owner's permission, planning to return the beautiful horse before anyone noticed he was missing. But first, she needed to bring fish home for herself and her mother, Louise, who remained devastated by the tragic death of Daisy's father. But as Daisy dove, "all around her, the water hummed. She tasted fuel on her tongue." She assumes she is hearing the sounds of military training coming from the skies, but soon "a deep vibration of the water all around," planes with red circles under their wings flying directly over her, and the sound of gunfire cause Moon to rear up and run off before Daisy can get to him. She then watches as a Japanese plane chases a P-40 Warhawk, but the American pilot sends the enemy flyer to a watery grave before navigating his own plane toward the nearby airstrip. As she runs back toward their modest home to check on her mother, "a wall of planes appeared over the Wai'anae Mountains. Every single one of the planes had red circles painted on their wings or sides. A whole sky full of Japanese planes. Hundreds. And not one American plane in sight."

Twenty-three-year-old Daisy has worked for Hal Montgomery -- the same man who employed her father -- for seven years. But a few days later, with Moon still missing, is fired by Montgomery. No sooner is she out of a job than she encounters General Danielson who persuades her to join WARD by offering her $140 per month plus meals, as well as officer status and safe travel for Louise to the mainland to stay with Daisy's aunt so that Daisy will not have to worry about her for the first time in a decade. It's an opportunity that short-haired, trouser-wearing, horse-loving, outdoorsy Daisy cannot pass up. She is unlike Peg Montgomery, the beautiful, college-educated daughter of her former employer, who is also recruited by the General. And not the kind of woman that Peg's brother, the dashing Walker, a Navy pilot who was flying one of those P-40 Warhawks on that fateful morning, would find attractive.

The women meet at 'Iolani Palace, the former home of Hawaiian kings and queens and the site where Queen Liliuokalani was held hostage while the islands were overthrown. Now used to conduct secret military training, Daisy and nineteen others are informed they are about to perform "some of the most important work any woman in this nation has ever done" after an intense course of instruction. They will be using radar (radio detection and ranging) to detect aircraft and ships, with six stations mounted on O'ahu. They are introduced to each other, fitted for uniforms, and advised that they will be deemed military officers for their safety. "If captured by the enemy, they will have to treat you according to international prison of war standards." Some of the women, like Lucy, are military wives, some are married to prominent businessmen, and Fluff, along with a few others, was recruited from the University of Hawai'i. Peg and her glamorous friend with designs on Walker, Thelma, are part of the contingent, as well. Betty Yates, from Louisiana, lives in the navy yard with her husband, Chuck, a pilot. Daisy, who dropped out of school after the tenth grade and began working at the Montgomery stables, worries about her ability to pass the rigorous mandatory tests.

Ackerman weaves a compelling and entertaining story about the women's experiences in WARD. She describes their living conditions and the relationships they form, with Daisy always at the center of the tale. Peg and Thelma are the quintessential mean girls who look down on Daisy. Daisy's confidence is bolstered when she achieves the highest score on the initial standardized test. Every character was impacted by the attack on Pearl Harbor and, with a war now raging, has reason to worry about her own, as well as her loved ones' safety. Some are better than others at rising above their petty differences and forging alliances, but in order to carry out their mission, they must find a way to become a dedicated team because so much is at stake. After all, detecting and plotting movement is one thing. "Discerning between friend or foe" is another.

Ackerman grippingly portrays the intense pressure the women feel to succeed, as well as some infuriating ways that they are treated as lesser than their male counterparts despite the responsibility they shoulder. And believably illustrates the workplace abuse to which they were subjected. For instance, Daisy is among the women who excel and are moved up in the program to commence more complex work at Little Robert, the Information and Control Center for the Pacific theater. When they enter the facility, Colonel Nixon announces to the men finishing their shift, "We have a truck full of Bettys here to take over for you." And chastises Daisy when she speaks out of turn in an effort to assist as Fluffy flounders, advising her, "If you think like a man, speak like a man, and act like a man, you should do fine." Daisy is nonplussed, having learned years ago at the ranch that there were "two kinds of men: those who liked women and those who didn't. No amount of smarts or competence could change that fact." Ackerman's writing shines most brightly and the story is most engaging when she depicts the gravity of the women's circumstances in scenes such as that one.

As time passes without further battle, everyone is on high alert, painfully aware that the islands were caught off-guard the first time and another surprise attack could be imminent. The women's stress intensifies as they complete their training and commence their six-hour shifts. Additionally, Daisy begins patrolling the island on horseback and spending time with Walker. Eventually, she learns the shocking truth about how her father died and the surrounding circumstances.

Ackerman deftly ramps up the dramatic tension to an powerful, nail-biting, and realistic climax. Daisy has failed to heed Betty's wise advice -- "You don't want a pilot" -- and is pressed into duty with everything she cares about on the line. Rehearsed scenarios become real-life crises in Ackerman's skilled telling. Daisy, the unassuming Hawai'an girl that haughty Mrs. Montgomery tried to convince General Danielson was not up to the challenge of serving in WARD, learns, through her experiences, just how powerful, capable, and resilient she is. As do the women with whom she serves and cements unyielding friendships born out of shared challenges, heartbreak, and triumph during a uniquely extraordinary time in America's history.

With compassion, and evident admiration and affection for her characters, Ackerman pulls readers into their struggles and joys. She effectively transports readers to an idyllic island paradise where America's innocence was shattered on a December morning eight decades ago. Her riveting and moving story pays homage to the women whose immense contribution to the war effort has not been taught in classrooms. Ackerman says, "I hope I have done justice to these amazing women!" She has indeed.

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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC digital copy. I have not been compensated for my opinion and this is an honest review.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish reading this ARC digital copy before needing to switch to other books that were being archived. The book remains on my Goodreads "want to read" list, and I will update my review to reflect an updated opinion when I finish it at a later date..

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Interesting historical novel. I was not familiar with the WARDS but knew that many women had to take over the roles that men had before the war. I enjoyed the book but wasn’t expecting so much of a love story. The story line was easy to read and follow and was a quick read. Nice to read something about WWII that didn't take place in Europe and how it affected the people in Hawaii.

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This was a very interesting historical novel that taught me about an aspect of WWII that I did not know about. I have read many books set during that time period where women had to take over jobs that men normally did, and how it empowered them, but I did not know that women were enlisted for help reading radar. Very fascinating! I will do more historical research on this to learn more.

I liked the sweet love story between Daisy and Walker and how their relationship grew. It was predictable but not boring in any way. If we did not already own this, I would recommend it for purchase at my library.

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