Sunday, January 18, 2009

White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages

I recommend this book for: middle school and up

I was very excited to see a sequel to The Green Glass Sea, and it doesn't disappoint! Although a little slow in the beginning, things quickly pick up. Which is strange, because not much actually happens - it covers the time after the end of WWII, with America settling down and figuring out what "normal" is again.

Dewey is still living with the Gordons, in a small town in New Mexico. She is worried about fitting in at her new school - not easy for a girl who would rather take shop than the required home ec course - but it turns out that Suze has more problems when she echoes her mother's anti-bomb philosophies. Mrs. Gordon is running an awareness campaign about the effects of the atomic bomb and trying to prevent it from being used ever again. There is tension at home as well, since her husband is still working on rockets for national defense and to try to beat the Russians into space.

This is a relatively quiet book, but there is a lot happening on the personal level - Suze's jealousy over Dewey's relationship with her mother, the tension between the adult Gordons, new friendships for both girls, a fantastic piece of art/machinery, and a little romance. As in the last book, the characters feel real and the writing is lovely. Klages gives a feeling for what it was like to live in this period, and it's a must-read for fans of historical fiction. Just make sure you start with The Green Glass Sea first!

Tell me more! But don't be fooled by the product description - Rita's appearance is nowhere near the focus of this book.

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