From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–The end of the 1960s as an era of social and political upheaval and change, spurred by technology as well as youthful energies, is well realized in this story that also offers strong character development and a palpable sense of place. At 18, Brady is so straitlaced that even her mother worries about her. During a family vacation, the teen meets wealthy and idealistic Sally Cooper. Back in Minneapolis, she returns to her part-time job at a church-based, social-service center and becomes aware of its director's radicalism with regard to the war in Vietnam. Sally tracks Brady down, and the two become acquainted with other college-aged students whose ideas both challenge and invigorate them. As autumn lengthens, Brady must cope with her changing relationships, the confirmed death of her brother in Vietnam, and Sally's disappearance underground in the wake of a campus bombing. Qualey presents a glorious cast of characters, each of whom adds texture and offers contrasting perspective to the protagonist: her widowed mother, her younger brothers, her boyfriend who is a Vietnam veteran, the politically astute Cooper family, and a shadowy FBI agent. Many details of 1969 and the ensuing year are sharply authentic, including the rapt public attention earned by the first Moon walk, but some seem odd and misplaced, such as the dissonance between Brady's ex-nun mother and her church. Readers probably won't care about such faltering details, however, and will feel rewarded by Brady's personal awakening to both friendship and social justice.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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Gr. 10-12. In the summer of 1969, men have walked on the moon, and in Minneapolis, 18-year-old Brady is also stepping into new territory. Since her father's death, Brady has felt the weight of worry--for her two younger brothers, her clients at the community center, and her brother, Will, missing in Vietnam. Then she meets Sally and Paul Cooper, young, rebellious heirs who are enfolded into Brady's loving family even as they introduce her to 1960s drug culture, fluid romances, and civil disobedience. Sally's increasingly radical protests and the FBI's search for Will play out against Brady's own self-discovery as she begins college and falls in love. Dense, episodic, and reflective, Qualey's latest novel will appeal most to older teens. But in small details and larger events that parallel history, it captures the wild anguish of the times, including a glimpse of war's indelible aftermath. Its wholly appealing characters, including smart, nearly-too-perfect Brady, who struggles to balance responsibility and self-discovery, will also resonate with many readers. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved