The Green Glass Sea -- Ellen Klages
It's 1943, and Dewey Kerrigan will turn eleven in a month. Since she was seven, she's lived with her grandmother because her mathematician father has been doing top secret work for the war effort. But now, her grandmother has had a stroke and is unable to care for her -- so Dewey is sent across the country, to live with her father in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
What I love about it: Everything. I love that it is readable on multiple levels -- that there is clearly tension among the grown-ups that the kids pick up on but don't completely understand (and, to some extent, the kids aren't all that interested -- they've got their own stuff going on), that it is, on one level, a pretty simple story about the beginnings of a friendship but that it is, on another level, an excellent piece of historical fiction with cameos by folks like Richard Feynman and Dorothy McKibbin. And I loved the slang: "When it came to comic books, Suze knew her onions**."
It's a quiet-ish, thoughtful book, one that I will read and re-read, one that I will most definitely buy a copy of, and soon. Seriously, I can't recommend this book highly enough*. It's outstanding in every possible way. I realize that I'm late to the bandwagon on this, but for real -- if there are people out there (other than me) who have missed it, do yourselves a HUGE favor and pick it up. The paperback was released last month, so if you read it ASAP, you'll be ready for the sequel, which is due out in October.
*CC, if you haven't already read it, you must.
**I'm going to try and work that one into my regular rotation. It's excellent. Also, "Color me so yellow" is SO much better than "Oh, I'm so scared".