Jess is having difficulties in her relationship with her older sister Maddie. They are on a summer football camp at Trenchard House where she sees a photograph of a Second World War pilot and she wonders whether women did fly planes during that time. On the last day of the camp they visit an air show and queue up for a go on the simulator although Maddie is not keen. Eventually the two girls are led in by a familiar looking woman and Jess takes the pilot’s seat. She finds she is in fact flying a real Typhoon on a mission to destroy a target which does floor her although she does seem to be able to fly the plane and deliver the bombs on the target with Maddie’s encouragement! On coming into land the girls discover they are back in the simulator but their relationship has improved considerably, and Jess realises who the woman was whose face she recognised.
This is a lot to pack in through 80 pages but Tom Palmer succeeds in making this an exciting but slightly implausible read. Jess and Maddie’s relationship is sketched in enough for the reader to understand the tension between them, and the message that women can fly aircraft is well made. It would have been good to use some original photographs of women flying aircraft during the war perhaps? This would a good starting point for a discussion about women’s role in combat, and mature enough for less able readers to read, as this is a story with some depth within the confines of the page count.