Book Title: Cold War on Maplewood Street
Author: Gayle Rosengren
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: August 4th 2015
Source: ARC received in exchange for my honest review.
From Goodreads: Cold War anxieties play out in a sensitively told story set during the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s, perfect for fans of Gary Schmidt and Kristin Levine.
Joanna can’t get over how her brother broke his promise to never leave like their dad did. Sam is thousands of miles away on a navy ship, and no matter how often he sends letters, Joanna refuses to write back. When she makes a promise, she keeps it.
But then President Kennedy comes on TV with frightening news about Soviet missiles in Cuba—and that’s where Sam’s heading. Suddenly Joanna’s worries about being home alone, building up the courage to talk to a cute boy, and not being allowed to go to the first boy-girl party in her grade don’t seem so important. Maybe sometimes there are good reasons to break a promise.
The tense timeline of the Cuban missile crisis unfolds alongside a powerful, and ultimately hopeful, story about what it means to grow up in a world full of uncertainty.
My take: This is a story about family, emotional ties and broken promises.
Twelve-year-old Joanna Maxwell is very upset at her older brother enrolling in the navy at a time she no longer had a Dad in her life and (unknown to her) on the eve of the Cuban missile crisis.
I loved the raw and poignant emotions described in the book. I felt angry, shameful, and loving right along with Joanna. It was sometimes heart tugging and a little funny to watch Joanna deal with coming of age emotions and attitudes toward her mom.
Although I wasn’t around at the time of the crisis, the fear and panic the characters in the book experienced felt real, so I can’t imagine how someone who knows more about it will feel.
As usual Gayle Rosengren’s writing is on point. She writes historical fiction that’s relatable to her audience even if you are from a different generation. She was already a favorite author and this book sealed it.