All is Fair is a historical fiction YA novel written by Dee Garretson. This book is set during World War I, and while there have been a few titles in recent years, it’s not a very common setting. So right away, my interest was piqued.
When Mina receives a telegram at boarding school, she is initially confused by the odd message contained within. She quickly realizes that the message is actually a code, and returns home. The war has already taken a toll on her family; her brother Crispin is already missing in action, and Mina wants to do whatever she can to help.
She reunites with family friend Lord Andrew and meets Lucas, a handsome American. The young men are participating in flight training at a neighboring manor, but there’s something more going on- something they can’t talk about. Can Mina prove to them that she is capable of helping them?
This was an exciting book with a steady pace. There were many secrets and revelations, and there was always something going on. Some of the elements were predictable, but there were plenty of other things that came as a surprise. Mina is a delightful heroine; she’s intelligent, and she’s resourceful, and she wants to do her part for the war effort. She is somewhat confined by societal roles, but she doesn’t let that stop her from asserting herself.
I was a little concerned when I noticed the situation with the two young men: it seemed like it was going to be the stereotypical setup for a YA love triangle. You know, the old and trusted family friend and then the sweet talkin’ New Guy. I can’t say that there are no feelings whatsoever, but Mina is not here to moon over boys. She’s here to crack codes and jump into new adventures- even if they’re beyond anything she’s done before.
I would recommend All is Fair to YA readers. There’s a nice blend of mystery and action to hold the reader’s interest. I enjoyed my reading experience, and I’m interested in checking out more of Garretson’s books in the future.