Monday, February 9, 2009

White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages

The story of Dewey and Suze which began in The Green Glass Sea picks up in this novel, which starts up a year after those events. Dewey and Suze along with Suze's parents have left "the Hill" at Los Alamos and moved to Alamogordo, where Suze's father is hard at work on rockets. This is the very first stage of the space race and Dr. Gordon is obsessed with making rockets reach the stars and sending man to the moon.

With Dr. Gordon at the missile site all day, and sometimes all night, Suze's mom is obsessed with stopping the bomb that she and her husband helped create. She's horrified by what she saw of Hiroshima and wants to make sure that it never happens again. With her focusing on that, Suze and Dewey are left to their own devices.

They continue to use their skills, Dewey's mechanical and Suze's artistic, to create wonderful projects together. They are getting used to a new town, growing up and getting ready to start high school. The book tells of their struggles with fitting in at school, while they make new friends and meet boys. As the future of the Gordon's marriage comes into question, the girls both struggle with many issues and are pulled both apart and closer together.

Then when an unexpected visitor shows up on the doorstep, there's a chance that Dewey and Suze's lives could change forever.

Klages has written another wonderful book. I loved returning to the story of these two girls and also the fascinating character of Terry Gordon, Suze's mother. This is a time in history that is often ignored, but the post-WWII years in many ways shaped the world we are living in today. She captures the time period beautifully and makes me want to walk right onto the page and spend a day with Dewey and Suze.

I also like that fact that these girls are interested in more than Home Ec and dances. Too often, even in this day and age, girls are thought odd if they show an interest in science. It's nice to see a different side of girlhood.

I can't recommend these books enough. I don't know if Klages plans on revisiting their world, but I wish she would. I would love to see Dewey and Suze in the future, and see what they can achieve. Great books!!

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