Lillian's Reviews > White Sands, Red Menace

White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
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Aug 05, 11

bookshelves: historical-fiction, young-adult, new-mexico
Read on July 01, 2011, read count: 1

Initially the dialogue in this book felt awkward, but soon I realized that might be because it felt like a book I would have attempted to write in middle school. It got eerily familiar fast, because it centered on girls raised by scientists and growing up with The Bomb as a part of their lives. I looked into Ellen Klages' bio, expecting her to have grown up in Alamogordo, NM, but she didn't. She just researched her book really really well. She got quite specific with the look and layout of the town. Authors that get very specific about real places can sometimes be aggravating; anyone who hasn't been to that particular place feels left out of some insider's perspective. Having been to Alamogordo a couple times, I liked it.

I think the book did a good job of presenting life as a girl in the late 1940s, especially life in southern New Mexico at that time, and the coming-of-age experiences of the middle-school girls. It resonated with me.

One final positive: I was really relieved that the many conflicts in this book were generally resolved productively, within a chapter or two of their appearance. Many juvie and teen fiction novels let the conflict build until it bursts open in an angry, violent, angsty manner. That makes for stressful reading, for me.
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