[CN: Anti-Japanese racism, jingoism, the atrocious bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki]
Dewey Kerrigan is waiting on the front steps of her nana’s house for her pop, expected to return from Chicago. But he does not show up. An army vehicle comes instead, and they announce that Dewey will be taking a train southwest to New Mexico. Because Dewey must spend the next four years of her life isolated in a public housing/working complex that is on no map and is top secret. Because her pop is a physicist working on the Manhattan Project.
I can’t discuss this novel the way I want to without spoiling it. I had some objections, but all in all this is a tender and redeeming narrative charged with details in all the right ways. It fits in a pattern I’ve experienced since grade school — that of historical novels for young people being a rare and valuable chance for young USians to engage with history presented without the agenda of turning children into soldiers.