Thursday, October 4, 2012

Strong sequel

I often don’t follow up with sequels, mostly due to lack of time.  But I’m really happy that I picked up White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages (823 K661W FIC) the sequel to The Green Glass Sea (823 K661G FIC).

We pick up with Dewey Kerrigan and the Gordon family after they’ve move from Los Alamos to Alamogordo, New Mexico after the end of World War II.  Dewey is feeling very comfortable with the family who has taken her in after her father was accidentally killed by a car.  Dewey and Suze have grown closer and it’s a delight to read about their relationship, especially as they work together building a very inventive, mechanical wall, with each girl doing her own thing.  Dewey is the inventor who loves all things mechanical and Suze is a budding artist who looks to understand her world through her art work.

There are many secondary storylines that engage and preoccupy our two main characters: Suze’s growing friendship with a Hispanic girl and awareness of racial inequality, Suze’s jealousy over Dewey’s closeness with her mother, Dewey’s concern over her own birth mother’s reappearance in her life after abandoning her when she was two, Mrs Gordon’s concern and activism to raise awareness about the horrors of the nuclear bomb, Mr. Gordon’s increasing excitement as he works further with nuclear technology building rockets to protect the United States from Communist USSR, a growing distance between Mr. and Mrs. Gordon based on their positions about nuclear technology, and an ethical dilemma involving Nazis now living in the US and helping the Americans build rockets.

Whew! This sounds like a lot but it all works seamlessly, just the stuff of everyday living for two pre-teen girls with the usual parental background noise layered with a bit of current events of the time.

I love the science and art connections of this book.  The family relationships seem real and caring.  The resolutions to some of the storylines also ring true with no pat answers and concessions being made.  The writing is strong and draws us into this time period with ease.

I highly recommend this novel for the middle grades.

I also recommend Countdown by Deborah Wiles (823 W648C FIC) that deals more directly with the cold war of the 1960s.


Perogyo said...

I love near-history books, and these (three!) look very interesting.

Just wondering, but have you nominated anything for the Cybils yet? I think you'd have a great list!

Tammy Flanders said...

Thanks for stopping by. I haven't nominated any books for the Cybils - ever. I'll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

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