cover image Come Down Somewhere

Come Down Somewhere

Jennifer L. Wright. Tyndale House, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4964-7167-3

This affecting coming-of-age story by Wright (If It Rains) follows two young women grappling with the consequences of U.S. involvement in WWII. In late 1944, 15-year-old Olive and her family have to move out of their ranch in Jornada del Muerto, N.Mex., after the military commandeers it as part of a new secret testing facility. The family ends up in nearby Alamogordo, where Olive meets Jo—the daughter of the sergeant now quartered in Olive’s old home—at the local high school. Despite a frosty start, the two become friends, even as Olive’s embitterment about the war makes her skeptical of Jo’s belief in a benevolent God. As the truth about the military facility’s purpose trickles out, it alters the trajectory of Olive and Jo’s lives. In 1952, Jo has grown disillusioned and drifted away from God, and she returns to Alamogordo to take care of her estranged father’s affairs as he dies of cancer. She still struggles to make sense of Olive’s decision seven years earlier to renege on their plans to escape to California together, so Jo determines to find what became of Olive and rediscovers her faith in the process. In Olive and Jo, Wright captures the tenderness of formative friendships, and the characters’ complicated relationships with Christianity testify to how meandering the path of faith can be. The result offers touching meditations on girlhood, friendship, and God. (Sept.)