Winny's War by Jenny Moss is set in the early 1900's. World War I is almost over, but the Spanish Influenza pandemic is a more pressing problem for Winnie and her family. Winnie is a teenager - noticing boys for the first time, wanting to have a better relationship with her mother, and having a hard time with her grandmother, Clara, who lives with the family. She has a few problems with her best friend, Tillie, who has abandoned her for a more popular girl. But most concerning is the number of people coming down with the flu. No one really knows how to avoid getting sick, and one supposed remedy is the use of Vicks vapor rub. In the past people struck by the flu were the elderly and very young, but this time healthy people are also dying. Winnie's own family comes down with the flu as does her best friend (who she has reunited with) Tillie. Winnie is such a likeable character and my heart broke for her several times throughout this book. Moss does a good job of allowing Winnie to teach us a few lessons. By novel's end she has seen great hardship and sorrow, yet is able to go on living each day- recognizing that life moves on and that she needs to be able to live alongside her sorrow.
A great historical fiction book, a great coming of age novel and a wonderful story full of some important lessons.