Atomic Summer (Volume 1) Paperback – June 19, 2012
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"The Lost Girls of Devon" by Barbara O'Neal
From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Paperback : 382 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0985566302
- ISBN-13 : 978-0985566302
- Item Weight : 1.07 pounds
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.96 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Barks Out Loud (June 19, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #5,129,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I certainly commend Walsh on her characterization. Normally when I read a book in two days, I am not that impacted by characters at all. However, Atomic Summer is an exception. Each character evoked different emotional responses from me. Faith's character was eponymous of her name. She is a loyal Catholic, and though she tries her best to uphold morality, she is often gullible. There are times when I feel so sorry for her when she cannot interpret how vicious the world is. Octavia is socially-awkward, and for a part of the book, I grew tired of having to read her narration. Surrounded by books and constricted by her responsibilities for Archie, Octavia though intelligent, is quite mundane considering her age. Then I realized, "wait - this girl has adult responsibilities to fulfill". So I must confess, I began to grow fond of her because I felt pitiful for her. Also, she had the most pain to deal with. My favorite characterization was for Bernadette. She is a vicious adolescent with dictating hormones and no conscience. Though Bernadette did not narrate, Walsh gave us a lot of information on her via her loyal friends. I think Bernadette represents a lot of people we know today. She is manipulative and mocking, covetous and crazed. Sometimes I wish Walsh made her break an arm. There are many other characters in the book - Susannah, Stephen, Lyle, Allen, Wesley, etc - that not only enhance the plot, but make the book more authentic by presenting personalities we are familiar with.
The plot was fast-paced - perfect for a summer read. I spent two nights reading this on my tablet, often finding out that morning came upon me.The novel is chronicled well by both Octavia and Faith. Their transitions are well-organized, allowing for a smooth plot. It was not hard to follow at all despite the stark difference between character narration. Unfortunately, the ending of the novel seemed a bit rushed. The reunion of 1973 was too functional in its exposing of secrets. The reunion was more of a "tell-all" session, and could have been less obvious.
Walsh's style is one that keeps readers intrigued. She leaves a lot of room for suspicion and even adds elements of humor. Flashbacks are obviously essential since the characters in the novel are adults now. Her diction differs amongst narrators. For instance, with Octavia you will except eloquence and slight depression. While with Faith, her diction is simple. She presents a wide range of personalities, whether it be a sleazy lurker (Lyle) or an egotistic matriarch (Susannah). With her ability to depict such distinct natures, it is obvious that Walsh excels in being a versatile writer. Her figurative elements such as her historical allusions and vivid imagery build up a story that immediately places the reader in the frantic atmosphere of the 1950s. I also loved the combination of themes Walsh presented. There is childhood innocence, betrayal, sexuality, religion, loss, grief - it is amazing how many themes can occupy such a short read.
I highly recommend Atomic Summer not only to those in need of a fast-paced read, but to those who insist that the world was completely structured differently in terms of society. You will be shocked to see how Atomic Summer - a 1950s novel -parallels to our lives today. Its significance is one that will never expire as long as we live.
Most of the characters in this book revel in the we are getting out of dodge and see the world thought patterns, yet as so often happens of course, the ones who squawk the loudest are the ones who stay all their lives.
The story could have actually been based on real events. And, the characters could have been real as well, but even if they are, one of them just seemed too naive to be believed. I kept wanting to say REALLY?
As these people aged, I didn't feel their maturity gained any footage. I wanted something more to happen, something that I wasn't expecting, but it just didn't. I think the author has great potential and should have allowed herself to really embellish the story and characters. There didn't seem to be a real plot to the story, just a story. No turns you didn't see coming, as the author told a little too much for you not to read between the lines. So the surprise was never a surprise.
It was not a book I couldn't put down, and not one I would ever read twice. If you like stories of growing up, and how that impacts your future, then you might like this book. I thought the story was okay, but I would not recommend it as a good read. I would like to read the author's next book though, as I feel she has the ability to really put on a show if she lets her characters develop, and sets the twists and turns stage without opening the curtain part way before raising it.
The experiences, dreams, and fears of the cast of young teens will hit home with readers who have lived through the same exploratory--and sometimes confusing--period in their own lives. I could easily relate to the characters and even recognized specific traits in a few of my former school friends! Emotions run the gamut in this tender story of friendship, and certain scenes tug at our heartstrings. Be forewarned.
Against the backdrop of small-town Port Pompeii, the distinct personalities of the characters come to life and simple events appear all the more dramatic. I was especially impressed with the depth of the historical descriptions. From bomb shelters to verandahs, from bars to churches, I could visualize each setting as though I'd been there before.
Events move fast in Atomic Summer, and the story of young interconnected lives ends too soon, but the characters will linger with me for a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Top reviews from other countries
The writer attempts to conjure up the 50s but fails....The Help is a much better snapshot of America at this time.
Unfortunately the formatting and spelling errors distract.
Towards the second half of the book I was indeed furiously turning pages and have just spent the last two hours not putting the book down until I had finished it and I am so glad that I persevered.
The author has an incredible talent of bringing her characters to life. She has created wonderful individuals that will mesmerise you and woven them into a truly memorable, heartwarming yet bittersweet story that will leave you thinking about them for days if not weeks after. Throughout the story, the author kept me guessing and it was this need to find out the answers to many of my questions that kept me reading, and then, wrapping it all up beautifully in the end, she answered all of them and confirmed some I had already guessed.
For a heartwarming, poignant read, I would happily recommend this book. You will find yourself transported back to the 1950's, live their hopes and dreams as if you were there, and return to your present day with fond memories, as if you really lived it.