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The Atomic City Girls

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  17,708 ratings  ·  2,002 reviews
In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist.
Paperback, 353 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks/HarperCollinsPublishers (NY)
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KellI Preston To be fair, I haven't read this one but I would say read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. It is no…moreTo be fair, I haven't read this one but I would say read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. It is nonfiction, about women that were really there, and reads very much like a novel. Was one of my favorites.(less)
Kim Yes, there are several sex scenes, including one where the main character is coerced into having sex during her period. The relationship between the m…moreYes, there are several sex scenes, including one where the main character is coerced into having sex during her period. The relationship between the main character and her lover is not a healthy one (he is an alcoholic and she is codependent). In my opinion, this would not be a good book for young readers.(less)

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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  17,708 ratings  ·  2,002 reviews

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Angela M
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.

The title of this novel is a misnomer in some ways. It’s not just about the the women who worked for the Manhattan Project, called for purposes of security Clinton Engineering Works, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the 1940’s. It was about men as well, about what the everyday life was like at this place where they live and work on something secretive , a question of national security, they are told. Of course, there are people here who know exactly what is happening here and they
The Library Lady
Jan 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
Clearly neither the author nor her editors have read The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, a non-fiction version of the story here that reads like a novel itself.

If they had, they wouldn't have published this cardboard character filled version of history.
And if you've already spent time reading this, (and if you haven't, don't waste your time on it), read that one. The true women (and men) of Oak Ridge have an astonishing story to tell, and the aut
Lauren Hopkins
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Okay. I found what was going on in this book so super interesting from a historical perspective? But from a reader's perspective I was did this get past an agent let alone probably multiple editors and people with brains who read things? It is SO. UNBEARABLY. DULL. It's written about as interestingly as a cookbook from the 40s and since it's ABOUT the 40s I was like "is this intentional?" lol. It reads like the most basic book ever. There's weirdly very little dialogue or even any int ...more
Katie B
After reading the nonfiction book, The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II, I was eager to read more about Oak Ridge and the people who worked there. Unfortunately, not that many books have been written about the people however this historical fiction book looked promising. I'll admit I had some issues with the book, but overall I'm glad I read it.

The author did a good job weaving historical facts into the story. Some of the details might not seem sign
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a historical fiction book about how the atomic bombs, and the girls who worked on them. I have to say I loved the pictures that where in the book. I feel the characters could have more developed. (*)
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Atmospheric, authentic, and immersive!

The Atomic City Girls is a fascinating story that sweeps you away to Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the mid-1940s when WWII was raging on the battlefields of Europe, and back home the American government was funding a top-secret project that would triumphantly and tragically have a resounding effect on the entire world for years to come.

The prose is captivating and vividly described. The four main characters June, Sam, Cici, and Joe are unique, hardworking, and
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
For eighteen-year-old June Walker, the prospect of working at Oak Ridge is a chance to get away from home. She has no idea what she is actually doing at Oak Ridge other than she's helping the war effort. As she starts an affair with a Jewish physicist, Sam Carter, she starts to realize more and more what they are doing there. At the same time, her roommate Cici is trying her hardest to find a rich man and get away from her past life. African- American construction worker Joe Brewer has left his ...more
Sherri Thacker
I really enjoyed this fictional book about how the atomic bomb was made and how secretive the whole thing was. The whole time I read it I felt like I was back in the 40’s and there are little black and white pictures throughout. Beautifully written and I really enjoyed the chapters as well. It’s not my normal genre of books but I’m so glad I read this one.
Provin Martin
Dec 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a solid 3.5 for me. I found it hard to keep track of all the characters and their stories. It distracted me from the plot itself. That being said, this book is about SECRETS mostly. But the story gets lost between government secrets and character secrets. In between the secrets are several love stories. I do appreciate the authors epilogue where we find out how the rest of the characters lives turn out.
Jenna Bookish
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
I adore historical fiction and WWII is definitely my go-to time period when it comes to this genre. Reading the blurb, I had high hopes for Atomic City Girls, but rereading it now after finishing the book really brings into focus how much of a false impression of the book it gives.

First and foremost, the romance storyline felt like it took up more of the novel than was justified. All of the major characters are working on developing a nuclear bomb. Some of them know what they’re working to devel
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Really loved the epilogue detailing what happens to each of the main characters.
This historical parts of the book were fascinating, but frankly I was not a big fan of the actual characters.. so I felt torn while reading it. A lot of research went into the book and that was the best part of it.
Stephanie Anze
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
"What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here."

3.5 stars rounded up

Eighteen-year-old June Walker begins working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in a facility called Clinton Engineering Works (CEW). Told only that she is helping the war effort, June is tasked with watching and adjusting a machine as are many more young woman like her. In the evenings, the women and men of the facility socialize in the town and June meets Sam Cantor, one of the scientists behind the project. A
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
20/4 - This was only so-so. I think that whoever included the uncaptioned photos made a mistake because in quite a few of them it was unclear what we were looking at (kind of like looking at a now deceased relative's old photos and trying to work out where they were taken and who the people in them are without the relative's input).

Of the four main characters only one was sympathetic, but even then I didn't really enjoy reading his chapters because he was a black man working in a very white worl
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am an avid library abuser, last night I was number one for nine new releases, never one who wants to hold up the queue I can't wait to dive into the new stuff, loving historical fiction I grabbed this audio book first, after all I was number 29 in line for the kindle version, why wait! Bright and early I had my ears on and out to the garden I went... hmmm, it wasn't grabbing me, oh give it time, the meat of the story is just around the corner... I looked to see I was at 19% and still I was wai ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book could have been so much more. My expectations were raised by the fact that it is not shelved here as a romance, but essentially it was exactly that with a bit of science. Very lightweight.
Mar 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: library-2
An interesting slice of life historical set during the 1940’s that chronicles life on an army installation producing uranium in Tennessee.
This book left me with ?. Felt like there’s no continuity it felt boxed. I mean you had the story of Joe with the black community then June, Sam, Tom and Cici with the occasional other characters. It wasn’t fast paced it was so slow. This book was read for my quarterly postal group!
Linda Zagon
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
imageWOW! Janet Beard, Author of “The Atomic City Girls” manages to write an intriguing and captivating novel. The Genres for this novel and Historical Fiction and Fiction. The timeline for this story is the 1940’s. The story revolves around the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A town is set up with segregated homes, and amenities for the residents working in Oak Ridge. Everything is secretive, and the workers sign confidentiality agreements. Many of the workers are not aware that they ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Atomic City Girls traces June Walker's journey from her small, rural hometown in Tennessee to Oak Ridge, Tennessee where she works in the Clinton Engineering Works turning dials for the war effort. The work is important and top secret but incredibly boring and tedious. June discovers much about herself and the world around her during her time in Oak Ridge. She makes and loses friends, falls in love, and gains independence. She becomes a far different person from this experience than if she h ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finished in one day! And it was a busy day too. That's how amazing this book was. So interesting and I was fully invested in the characters. Loved the real pictures throughout the book, loved the epilogue. I enjoyed the different characters and their stories. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ this will be one of my favorites of 2018! ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
THE ATOMIC CITY GIRLS is a quite good historical fiction which begins when the government begin acquiring the land on which Oak Ridge, Tennessee was built in the 1940's. The story is told by several different types of people who lived and worked there. These people, black and white, were helping to build the atomic bomb. Almost all of the folks employed at Oak Ridge had no idea what they were actually working on, and security was very tight. There are quite a few old photos of the site included. ...more
Debbie Robson
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a writer very interested in both world wars, I immediately grabbed Atomic City Girls when I spied it at my local library. The pictures scattered throughout the book are an excellent guide to the world that is a secret government project - Oak Ridge Tennessee.
The novel focuses on the lives of June Walker, who grew up on a farm nearby, Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York, African American construction worker Joe Brewer and Cici Roberts whose main aim in working at Oak Ridge is
novel based around the researching of the atomic bomb during the second world war
Since historical fiction, particularly when it is set in the World War II era, is a favorite of mine I was excited to sign up this book tour. I like historical fiction that gives me a unique perspective of the war and I found the setting of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a small town built by the government in order to do research and produce materials and components in order to beat Germany in building an atomic weapon, fascinating. Los Alamos, New Mexico is most well known for The Manhatten Project and ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fictional account of a few residents of the Clinton Engineer Works production installation in Oak Ridge, TN during World War II. The story follows the lives of several very different people whose lives intertwine during the production of uranium in the secret bomb-making city. June and Cici are two young girls who are placed together in a dorm and become fast friends. Cici is out to find her an Army husband and June is looking for an escape from her droll life and the sad news that h ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The title of this book should have just been The Atomic City. The word “Girls” in the title led me the reader thinking that the storyline would revolve mostly around women living and working in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. However men characters took up too many chapters and Ralph in particular seemed to be just thrown in to take up space. I did enjoy the story though and actually learned a bit more about the Manhattan project and it’s relevance in history. Close to a 3.5 rating. I won this book from G ...more
Michelle Griep
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting material for a non-fiction book. The trouble is that The Atomic City Girls bills itself as a novel. Granted, it could just be me, but boy howdy. . .I just did not connect with the characters. It was like they didn't care about themselves, so why should I? It didn't help that the writing was a bit simplistic as well. But on the up side, this story does portray what life was like living and working in a top-secret community.

If you have an interest in WWII, particularly in Y-12 or the
Jess Bondy
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
WWII-era historical fiction is one of my all-time favorite genres, so I’ve read A LOT of those books. This one was unique because it took place only in America - more specifically Tennessee. I also really liked this read because although it bounced around from different character’s’ perspectives, the main people it focused on were women. I love learning about all of the (under-appreciated) ways that women helped the war effort, in a time that was especially male-dominated. Learning about the sca ...more
To say that The Atomic City Girls is disappointing is to mildly understand the sentiment. I had high hopes of an intimate glimpse into life in Oak Ridge with its layers of secrets. I thought it would be another war novel that is both educational and entertaining. Unfortunately, it is neither of those things, in my opinion, which only compounds my longing for what could have been instead of what is.

For the amount of time we see June and her girlfriends actually working, the story could literally
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Born and raised in East Tennessee, Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, Beneath the Pines, was published in 2008, and her follow-up, The Atomic City Girls became an international bestseller in 2018. Janet's latest novel The Ballad of Laurel Springs is forthcoming in October 2021. Janet has l ...more

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