Shaya's Reviews > The Green Glass Sea

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
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Jun 02, 09

bookshelves: historical-fiction, realistic-fiction, school-year-2008-2009
Read in June, 2009

I thought the Green Glass Sea was an okay book. The basic storyline is that all these top scientists are in an army camp in New Mexico building "the gadget". And their children got to come along in some circumstances. Dewey is a geeky, inventor, 11-year-old. She comes with her loving father and really enjoys being around all the scientists and getting to have discussions about her inventions and how things work. Suze is an artistic girl with two scientist parents. She tries to fit in with the group of girl scouts but is not accepted by their group. Suze makes fun of Dewey as one of her ways to fit in.

I thought the premise and the setting were very interesting. I love the idea of all those extroadinary minds all in one place and Dewey having intellectual discussions. But the storyline was soooo predictable! Two enemy girls, forced to live together, don't get along, tragedy strikes, a few moments where they are nice to each other, discover they have some things in common, one girl helps the other, they become friends. It's like so many other books written for this age group. There were a couple surprises but really I guessed at lots of it.

I did not like the writing. Way too much of it was stated. I wanted to know more about Dewey's discussions with scientists and to have learned more scientific information. Neither Dewey's or Suze's emotions felt very real to me.

I called this a cross between historical fiction and realistic fiction because the storyline felt a lot like realistic fiction even though it was set in the 1940s.

The age range was a little young for me even though I found it in the young adult section of my library. I'd say 5th-7th grade is the intended age group.

The story reminded me a little of the Blue Balliet books like Chasing Vermeer. A humanity is highlighted in detail in a middle school book. But I like Blue Balliet's puzzles and writing story more than Ellen Klage's writing style.

*Spoilers Start Here*


The ending irked me. I can't believe that Suze's parents wouldn't explicitely tell Dewey that she could live with them. They were absent a bit, but still! Dewey should've have been involved in the decision process the entire time and had a clear idea.

The book does bring up an interesting idea about the atom bomb. All these scientists are having an invigorating time using their skills to make the atom bomb. Dewey and Suze think the experimentation site is pretty cool with the grene glass. But the purpose of the bomb is not to make pretty green (radioactive) seas in the desert. It's to destroy lots of people and buildings. At the end we get a sense that some of the scientists are beginning to question if this was such a good idea. Think of how they must have felt after Hiroshima!
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