Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

I chose this book for my 13 year old son because it had received a lot of attention when it came out in 2006. My son mostly reads fantasy, but he loved this book and recommended that I read it, too. After reading a several science fiction/fantasy books in a row, I was ready for something more down to earth. This book is set in Los Alamos NM during WWII. It is the story of two girls who move to "the Hill" because their parents are involved with the top secret Manhattan Project. The girls in story don't know what their parents are working on. They only know that "the gaget" is some kind of weapon that is supposed to end the war. The description of life in Los Alamos is fastening, but the the heart of the story is the relationship of the two girls. One girl, Dewey, who is gifted in mechanical engineering, is a loner, happy to be with her dad and her inventions. The other, Suz, large sized and insecure, wants to be part of the popular crowd, but doesn't quite fit in. When Dewey's father has to go to Washington for three weeks, the two girls are thrown together, and gradually come to appreciate the other's abilities. As the girl's friendship begins to develop, the tension in Los Alamos grows as the scientists prepare to do the first nuclear test. Klages does a great job of weaving the moral and political issues surrounded the H-Bomb into background of the everyday life of the girls. This book well deserved the Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction that it won in 2007. (321 p)

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