Kathleen's Reviews > Countdown

Countdown by Deborah Wiles
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's review
Dec 30, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star-books

What I really liked: Wiles strongly evokes the tension of the Cuban missile crisis. Franny is an excellent character, and her anxieties over school and relationships and especially the big party seem real and I think any child (or adult) could relate. The documentary material, although I had some problems with it (see below) is well-written and interesting. The theme - that love and people and relationships are what really matter.

What I didn't like: The documentary material takes you out of the story. Much of it is about things that happen AFTER the book (like JFK's assassination), so the characters wouldn't even know about these things.

I think Wendy has a good point, that a child of NOW might not be confused about some things, like what IS Jo Ellen up to? I know what SNCC and CORE are, but a middle-grade child probably doesn't. However, I did note that SNCC and CORE are explained in the chapter about Fannie Lou Hamer. So one ought to be able to deduce from that what Jo Ellen is doing.

This is part of a planned trilogy about the Sixties, so perhaps more will be explained? Wiles is still working on book two, and it's about different characters and takes place during the 1964 Freedom Summer.

At first I wasn't too sure about this book, but by the end I really loved it, and I think the excellent parts outweigh the problems.

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