It is 1943, and almost eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is on a train to New Mexico, where she will live with her father. She doesn't know where in New Mexico, exactly; the corporal who took her to the station can't tell her. It's wartime, and so many things are secret.
Soon she arrives at a town that -- officially -- doesn't exist. It is called Los Alamos, and it is abuzz with activity, as famous scientists and mathematicians from all over America and Europe -- Dewey's father among them -- work on the biggest secret of all, something everybody calls only "the gadget."
- from the book jacket
So, this book takes place in Los Alamos, New Mexico at the time of the Manhattan project, during World War II. It centers around two young girls, both are outcasts and they don't like each other. The story follows their struggles and developing friendship as they realize they have more in common than they thought.
I became interested in this book when I realized it took place during the Manhattan Project. There is currently a series on tv (called Manhattan) that centers around the events in Los Alamos and I really like it. This story is more geared towards middle grade students, as it follows the girls and sees things from their point of view.
There isn't a lot of action or suspense, this is definitely more realistic historical fiction than adventurous historical fiction. The story is good and the characters are likable. The story moves rather slowly and for whole chapters nothing much happens. Overall, this book was basically just ok for me.
I read this book as part of my Historical Fiction genre of the month project. Once again, I believe it is better for older readers and will recommend transferring it to the Middle school library. Not because it is violent or inappropriate, but because it seems it will appeal to older readers more.
Students in grades 6 and up who like historical fiction that focuses more on the realistic characters than the historical events or drama.