While I tend to read a majority of contemporary fiction, I also enjoy historical fiction and that’s what lead me to The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard. I admire how historical fiction books retell a time in history and it provides interesting context and perspective of a key moment or look at a famous figure in history.
I kept seeing The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard appear on must-read lists and on Instagram so I figure I would check it out. It takes place in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the town that produced the atomic bomb. Here’s the synopsis:
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In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.
Evenings are spent flirting at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. While June wants to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young physicist from New York who understands the end goal only too well, her beautiful roommate Cici’s goal is to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.
When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.
Wow, The Atomic City Girls definitely has quite a bit going on!
Check back here for my book review and book club questions after I finish it. Time to buckle up.