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Playground Zero

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  14 reviews
2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Literary
2021 Readers' Favorite Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Social Issues

1968. It's the season of siren songs and loosened bonds―as well as war, campaign slogans, and assassination. When the Raysons leave DC for the Berkeley counterculture, each embraces the moment in a freewheeling city marked by beauty and the berse
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 9th 2020 by She Writes Press
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Veronica ⭐️
Playground Zero is a finely written work of Historical Fiction set in Berkeley, California during the years 1968 – 1971. The story follows Alice Rayson from the age of 10 to 13 years, when she and her family lived in Berkeley. Alice finds it hard to fit in after moving from Washington, D.C. where she had many friends. Berkeley had a very different culture to Washington, D.C. With her parents, Marian and Tom, concentrating on their own lives and problems t
Becca (beccas_bibliophilia)
Sarah Relyea’s Playground Zero is a story told through multiple points of view in third person narrative. The various perspectives of Relyea manage to maintain a non-biased and reliable narration of the characters’ circumstances. These multiple points of view were vital when it came to telling the story of the Rayson family who move from Washington D.C to Berkeley, California during the politically turbulent year of 1968. The reader is able to develop sympathy and understanding for each characte ...more
Aida Alberto
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Took me back to a time that I knew very little about and I experienced it through the eyes of a child as she grew up during this time. Well told. I found it engrossing, fascinating and different. So if you're looking for something a little different this is the book for you. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Happy reading! #PlaygroundZero #NetGalley ...more
Sharon Dukett
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a complex story told from the point of view of many characters, but predominately from 2 main characters in in the Rayson family - Alice and her mother. We see several scenes from the fathers point of view and some from the brother, but by and large, they are characters of lesser importance.
Alice's story covers her as a child from 10 years old until 13, while living in Berkeley California during the late 60's as intense cultural change and experimentation is taking place. Her family mov
Kate McVaugh
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1960-s
Great book that explores a unique time in a unique city, through the eyes of a young adolesent. The desciptions are vivid and real. The situations -possibly alarming for those who know nothing of the times, are authentic. The language and slang of the 60's is spot on. For anyone who wants a true take on life in Berkeley, CA in the late 60's, I highly reccomend this book. ...more
Dorothy Cantwell
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Astounding book. Provocative. Compelling, unforgettable characters. The 60's through a child's eyes. It will blow your mind and break your heart. ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*What I like about the story is the third-person point of view. The story is told from the third person narrative (he, she, they.) The focus is on the different members of the Raysons' family. The parents are Tom and Marian. Their children are Curt and Alice. Other characters are included, but this story is about the Raysons. Reading a third-person narrative, I was able to take a seat and watch the story unfold. In this way of telling the story, Playground Zero doesn't tell or teach me to have a ...more
Amy Shannon
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Captivating story!

Relyea pens a remarkable "coming of age" story in Playground Zero: A Novel. I haven't read anything from this author before, and I really enjoyed this story. The characters were raw and complex, and even though the main character was 12 (Alice), there were a lot of layers to both her and the story. This author is not just a writer but a great storyteller. An enjoyable journey. An enjoyable journey. Magnificent story, kept this reader turning the pages. The reader is taken back
Lisa Moss
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
1960s Berkeley springs to life as a major "character" in this engrossing, compassionate, beautifully written tale of a young girl facing choices that would be confounding even for a much older kid. We see how unprotected 12 year-old Alice is -- how the adults around her are so self-centered and absorbed in their own lives that Alice is left to experience the Telegraph Avenue scene, drugs, and difficulties at school by herself. And when she experiences a violent incident, she must metabolize it w ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arthur Kyriazis
Jun 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book, written by Prof Sarah Relyea, is a tour de force memoir of the Sixties as experienced in California in the sixties.

The writing is beautiful, the story telling is crisp and engaging, and this book, like the time period it encapsulates, is at once innocent and captivating.

Not just a must read, but a book which should be added to every high school middle school and college English curriculum.

A wonderful novel/memoir superbly done.

—Art K
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
The story is really good, it's just a slow read at first. My mom grew up in the 60s and from the stories I've heard I feel like I can relate to the characters. ...more
Elizabeth Wood
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This novel is both wonderful and difficult. Wonderful because it takes on the often-told story of family conflict and the often-told story of the 60s in San Francisco and Berkley, and give it a very different spin. Painful because it addresses parental neglect, sexual assault, the challenges of growing up, and the difficulties of making relationships work at all ages. We see those things through the eyes of several different characters, but most powerfully through the eyes of a young girl, Alice ...more
Bev Goodman
Slow moving

I enjoyed the last third of the book. But found the first part boring and slow moving. Definitely a coming of age book. Not sure why so many 5 star reviews. The book was set in 1965, I was in junior high then in Virginia. Leap years away from Alice.
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Aussie Readers: Giveaway! One eCopy of Playground Zero - ends 23rd June 1 10 Jun 19, 2020 11:56PM  

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Sarah Relyea is the author of Playground Zero, a novel set in the late 1960s. Sarah grew up in Berkeley during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. As a young girl, she went to the infamous Altamont concert and frequented Telegraph Avenue. She would soon swap California's psychedelic scene for studying English literature at Harvard. A PhD who has taught at universities in New York and Taiwan, ...more

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