In 1984, the only interesting thing about Griffin Flat, Ark., is that it’s surrounded by nuclear missile silos. But when it’s picked as the filming location for the adaptation of Boudreaux Beauchamp’s novella “Eve of Destruction,” everyone is excited—even Laura Ratliff. Laura, 16, is still reeling from her parents’ divorce due to her mother’s scandalous affair with (and subsequent marriage to) Dennis Jennings, the only African-American man in town. Obsessed with the possibility of a nuclear war, Laura wins a radio call-in contest for a walk-on role in the film, but things quickly escalate for everyone when what is supposed to be a scripted nuclear explosion may or may not have been the real thing. Brashear (No Saints in Kansas) sprinkles the novel with information about the ’80s, offering a nuanced sense of the time and what it felt like to grow up under nuclear threat. Footnotes for popular culture references, such as Columbia House (“It’s a mail order music club”) give the well-paced novel some levity while providing important background information. In this moment where what constitutes fact is up for debate, Brashear’s seemingly nostalgic romp is extremely timely. Ages 14–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2018 Release date: 11/13/2018 Genre: Children's
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