The Incredible True Story of the Making of the Eve of Destruction
320p. Soho Teen. Nov. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781616959036.
RedReviewStarGr 8 Up—It's Arkansas, 1984, and Laura Ratliff is afraid of nuclear weapons. Her father works with nuclear weapons on a nearby base. Her parents recently divorced after her white mother's affair with Dennis, one of the few black men in town, was very publicly revealed. When her mom married Dennis, Laura gained a (very nice) stepbrother, Terrence, but lost her sense of security and feels adrift. Meanwhile, the townspeople are ecstatic that a Hollywood director is coming to town to film a movie about a nuclear war titled The Eve of Destruction. Laura wins a role as an extra and brings Terrence along. Her usually even demeanor becomes tested as there are more and more nuclear drills. She's barely keeping it together with the help of Pops, Terrence's grandfather who looks out for her; Max, her friend; and her stepbrother. Then the last day of filming arrives, and it brings harrowing changes for everyone in town. Brashear has adeptly researched the time period and captures the fear of nuclear war perfectly. Footnotes, more frequent at the beginning than the end, help familiarize today's teens with popular groups, terms, and athletes of the time. Excerpts from the movie script keeps the plot moving along to its inevitable explosive conclusion.
VERDICT Given that nuclear war is still a hot topic, this snarky and insightful historical novel will ring true with many young adults. A strong pick for YA shelves.

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