Synopses & Reviews
"Strasser (Kill You Last) brings readers to the 1960s Long Island of his youth, with one crucial difference: in this story, the Cuban Missile Crisis leads Russia to bomb the U.S. The plot alternates between two threads set before and after the bomb drops; in the immediate aftermath, 11-year-old Scott, his family, and a handful of neighbors endure the increasingly difficult conditions in the subterranean bomb shelter Scott's father built, waiting for radiation levels to fall. The format allows Strasser to have the best of both worlds. In the 'before' chapters, he presents a vision of life during the Cold War that feels ripped from personal memory as Scott grows aware of racial prejudice, the prevailing 'us vs. them' mentality toward Russia, and his own nascent sexuality ('You want to die without ever seeing a breast?' Scott's snide friend Ronnie asks). Meanwhile, the 'after' chapters are claustrophobic, heartbreaking, and at times ugly as civility breaks down among the few adult and children survivors. An eye-opening 'what if' scenario about the human response to disaster. Ages 10 up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
What if the bomb had actually been dropped? What if your family was the only one with a shelter?
In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scotts dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scotts dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and wont — remain when the door is opened again. Internationally best-selling author Todd Strasser has written his most impressive and personal novel to date, ruthlessly yet sensitively exploring the terrifying what-ifs of one of the most explosive moments in human history.