To save an image, right click the thumbnail and choose "Save target as..." or "Save link as..."
Author: Elliott, Laura
In 1950s Washington, D.C., teenaged Richard, a bookworm whose father works for the FBI, experiences effects of McCarthyism, beginning with book banning and ending with a threat to his half-Czech friend.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 191829
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 72988
School Library Journal (00/09/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2017 Gr 7–10—This McCarthy-era novel is told in monthly vignettes from June 1953 to June 1954. Richard's father Don works for J. Edgar Hoover's FBI during its frenzy to locate Communist sympathizers. Richard frames life through books—The Catcher in the Rye, Ian Fleming's novels, and other works his mother looks down upon. Richard's poet soul can't help but approve of his new neighbor Vladimir White, a cool cat who reads widely and speaks his mind. Vladimir's Jewish mother Teresa is from Czechoslovakia, and Richard shares information about Teresa with his father. Repercussions from the reports cause a rift between the two friends. Told in third person limited, this historical novel is filled with Richard's naive, offbeat humor. Readers may slow during the protagonist's copious slang, pop culture, and political references but its inclusion makes for a rich historical setting. The author refers to the protagonist's parents by first names, which may seem confusing. Nonetheless, Richard's literature-driven ideas, his awkward intimacy with his sister Ginny, and his rare friendship with Vladimir make his experiences as memorable as they are painful. The book's formatting is integral to its impact. Each chapter begins with red and black graphic art, articles from the era, and primary source photographs. The red pages add to the ominous paranoia presented in the book. An extensive afterword provides additional information on events of the time. Richard's interest in the opposite sex, some language, and his sophisticated morality indicate an upper middle school audience. Pair this with Marc Aronson's Master of Deceit on Hoover for another look at this unsettling epoch. VERDICT A good purchase for curricular tie-ins and fans of historical fiction.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.