Books·Canadian

The Girls They Left Behind

Bernice Thurman Hunter's young adult novel is about a young girl whose life is changed when her male friends are sent off to fight in the Second World War.

Bernice Thurman Hunter

It's 1944, and most of Natalie's male friends are going off to war. She wants to do her part, so she gets a job in a factory. But when her cousin goes missing in action, the war effort becomes more real — and much scarier — than Natalie had originally imagined. What will Natalie's life look like when the war is finally over? 

The Girls They Left Behind is for ages 13 and up.

From the book

I was done with being sad. Deep down I knew that I had a future made different from my friends'. I finally realised what I wanted to do with my life. I would become a teacher — a history teacher, so the past would not be forgotten. I wanted the young to know how awful it was for all of us, not only for the boys who went away — James and Reggie and Will and Alison's brother, Ira — but also for the girls they'd left behind. It must never, never happen again! There must be no more war. ... No more corpses floating in the shallow water, bloated and nameless as dead fish. Maybe one day I would meet a man with a mission, like me, and we'd get married and have babies and live to a ripe old age, as those boys never would, but always remembering what they did for us thousands of miles from home, defending our freedom.


From The Girls They Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter ©2005. Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.