Both Terrifying and Fun!
It's 1984 and Laura Ratliff is a high school student with issues beyond a typical sixteen-year-old. Her mom and her mom's new husband have been the talk of the town thanks to their VERY public extra-marital affair--compounded by the fact that the new husband is one of the few black people in town, and Laura's mom is white. Plus, the town is located in Arkansas. Laura's dad is in the Air Force and works for the Strategic Air Command, and he works in some way on the nuclear bomb. When the affair becomes common knowledge, he retreats to the nearby base, and his communications with Laura are infrequent and disturbingly cryptic.
The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction by Amy Brashear focuses on the moment in time when a movie about a nuclear detonation is being filmed in Laura's hometown, and she has won a spot in the movie--along with her step-brother, Terrence (her choice for her plus-one). As a bonus, Laura is desperately, frantically, openly terrified of nuclear warfare at a time when it is everywhere. The 80s were the time of the Cold War, and nuclear war was presented by many as a constant threat. The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction picks up on the stress associated with those times as it relates to lack of trust in elected officials, wondering about the impact (so to speak) of The Bomb, and the cultural elements of the time.
The main character, Laura, is fun, funny, interesting, and smart. She's everything I want in a female protagonist, and she is definitely the star of this show. Her closest friends are fascinating without having her depth, and her family members add some good elements to the overall story without ever feeling real.
The first 3/4 of The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction is great. I loved Laura, and I felt some connection to her friends and family. The premise was terrific, and the historical aspect--the time when I, too, was a high school student--was awesome. The last bit of the book didn't live up to the first; it felt rushed, it was surreal, and I kept waiting for the revelation of a dream sequence (that was big in the 80s!) to help it all make some sort of bizarre sense. None of that came to fruition, and I admit that I didn't love the ending. That said, the majority of the book is great, and I would definitely recommend it. It's the rare book that I would love to see made into a movie
My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.