My good friend, Peaceful Reader, reviewed Countdown yesterday, and it was my conversation with her a few weeks ago that prompted me to finally get this one off of my TBR pile. I've had this one since the day it came out. And I've known I would love it. But.....I also knew that once I read this one, I would no longer have the anticipation of this book, this capsule in history, to look forward to.
Countdown was everything I hoped it could be. Franny is growing up in the 60's, 1962 to be exact. There is a lot going on in the world at this point in time. The Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuban Missile Crisis, the space race, Civil Rights, and John F. Kennedy's presidency are some of the highlights. Franny's class practices duck and cover drills, and her Uncle Otts, still traumatized from his own war experiences, tries to build a bomb shelter in their front yard. Wiles is somehow - amazingly- able to show how Franny's normal, everday, tween issues that are so important to her -and are a rite of passage- that happen in addition to the very stressful political issues our country faced - and that children grew up knowing about and dealing with.
Wiles has picked a great decade to focus on. While this is before I was born (my mom and dad were high school sophomores in1962), I loved the feel of this decade in Countdown. Franny's issues are all ones that girls today can relate to - growing up, having friend problems, a first crush on a boy. And Wiles ability to tell Franny's story with snippets of songs, photographs, newsclips, and ads give such a glimpse of what 1962 was like to the reader.
I am so ready for the second book in this trilogy, which is sadly, not yet ready. I know that Wiles will find many more interesting issues from this decade to uncover for us in the next installment.