Sunday, August 11, 2013
the green glass sea, written by Ellen Klages. Puffin, Penguin. 2012. $9.99 ages 12 and up
I absolutely had to read this book! I finished Bomb by Steve Sheinkin a while ago and it fueled my need to read a fictionalized account concerning some of the people who worked in Los Alamos, and helped in constructing the atomic bomb.
Dewey is a character that I will long remember for her steadfast commitment to being herself, to following her own dreams and for her ability to thrive under the most dire of circumstances. After all, there was nothing she could do to change them. I grew to like Suze, Dewey's friend. It took some doing, on my part and certainly on Dewey's; she was worth that work!
I find myself wanting to know more about them, and am delighted to know that I will soon get that chance. White Sands, Red Menace was published by Puffin in 2010. I just added it to my Kindle collection. I have my fingers crossed that it will meet my expectations. If it does, I will be sure to tell you all about it.
Back to Dewey and Suze. They are the children of scientists working on a secret project in the New Mexico desert, not really understanding why they have moved from the life they have always known to the desolation found in this place no one else knows anything about...hard to fathom.
The Green Glass Sea is a truly unique novel for middle graders, and is a perfect companion read if you share the brilliant nonfiction book created by Steve Sheinkin. Here, the young women know nothing about the development of the bomb, except to call it the 'gadget' and to share their parents for most hours of the day with other workers who toil in secret. Dewey lives with her father, until his untimely death while on a trip to New York. Then, she is taken in by the Gordons, Suze's family. It is a tough go, for a while. But the girls eventually find common ground, both being misfits. They become quite the pair.
Their story is unique, well written and compelling. It is a piece of historical fiction that sheds light on a very important, and heartbreaking, time in the world's history. It kept me reading start to finish, and totally intrigued me with the concept of the green glass sea created when the test bomb was detonated. Sure to inspire others to want to learn more, it is interesting that it ends before the bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. The author did that purposefully:
"I wanted to end it just before the world changed. The reader knows the world changes irrevocably on the next page, but the next page is not a part of my book."
It is a book about world history, about family and friendship, about grief and healing. It is thoughtful, and it is definitely worth reading. You will not soon forget Dewey, or Suze and the circumstances that made them friends, and you are not likely to forget the described beauty of the green glass sea.