Among the Red Stars

Gwen C. Katz

HarperTeen, 2017

Agent: Thao Le

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines. 

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.


•a Junior Library Guild selection

"This beautiful, emotional entry into a key moment on Russian history will appeal to lovers of adventure novels, as well as historical fiction fans."

"Recommended for school and public library collections as a strong historical fiction addition"
School Library Journal

"Katz's debut novel extols the troop's bravery without sugarcoating the atrocities of war. Through Valka’s eyes, she examines the sexism women faced attempting to break into the field, fears of being labeled a traitor to the socialist experiment, the inextricable ways war changes a person, and the sacrifices and impossible choices that are inextricably tied to combat. Valka’s journey takes her from a scrappy, idealistic pilot to a battle-worn veteran, but she never loses her humanity."
—Publisher's Weekly

"Katz's highly readable novel offers an entry into the story of the Soviet Union's famed WWII squadrons of airwomen, the 'Night Witches.'...Katz is skillfully informative, interweaving historical figures and facts without losing emotional propulsion and suspense."
The Horn Book