Reviews for Year of the Bomb
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
It's 1955 and Invasion of the Body Snatchers is being filmed in Paul's town. After becoming pals with one of the movie's extras, Paul and his friends find themselves caught up in an FBI investigation ferreting out Communists. The book is vividly imbued with historical detail; parallels between the Red Scare witch hunters and the movie's body-invading aliens are particularly effective. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 May #1
Ever-so-aptly billed "Stand By Me meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers," this multilayered historical novel features a quartet of quarrelsome--but loyal in the crunch--13-year-olds responding to the anxieties of the McCarthy-era Cold War. Being horror-movie addicts, Paul and buddies Oz, Arnie and Crank are over the moon when the crew filming the abovementioned SF classic-to-be sets up in their small California town. Better yet, the four hook up with a beautiful extra, an FBI agent who claims to be investigating the filmmakers for Communist connections--and a troubled young scientist named Richard Feynman, whose odd behavior and chancy friends lead the lads to the exciting suspicion that he's a spy. Kidd folds in good measures of comic relief and period detail, separates fiction from fact in an afterword and lets his characters develop in credible ways. He also gives Paul plenty of food for thought about the hazards of rushing to judgment, of taking people at face value and, most profoundly, of living in a pervasive climate of fear--all decidedly relevant topics for today's readers to mull, too. (Historical fiction. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 July
Gr 4-7-In the 1950s in Sierra Madre, CA, four seventh graders, enamored of horror movies, have the thrill of a lifetime when a movie crew comes to town to film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Paul is the narrator. His colorful friends include the son of a blacklisted sound editor, a scrawny scaredy-cat, and a tough guy who can't help picking on the others. The Red Scare plays a prominent role as the boys investigate a professor at a nearby university who worked on the Manhattan Project and was friendly with a Russian spy. The novel covers a lot of ground. The boys are charming and real, although readers may come away wishing there had been more closure concerning the children's family lives and interpersonal relationships. Still, they will learn a lot about the era, and the details about the horror and science-fiction genres and the movie industry are stellar. Expect questions about spies and bombs, and circulation of 1950s horror flicks to skyrocket.-Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO [Page 86]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2009 October
In 1955, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union is staying cool as things heat up state side with accusations of communism running wild it seems. In the small town of Sierra Madre, just outside of Los Angeles, Paul and his friends are aware of the war but pay it little mind, spending their days watching horror movies and eating hot fudge sundaes. With news of a new horror movie being filmed in town, the boys make it their mission to visit the set. Their excitement over the film increases when they discover an FBI agent on the trail of a potential communist. Their investigation will put them right in the middle of their very own adventure as they decide between blind loyalty and the truth. Kidd crafts a tale that rings as true now as it did during the Cold War; it is easy to accuse but often hard to uncover or accept the truth. The book, however, tends to feel rather disjointed between transitions, and some details go unresolved or poorly explained in the end. Kidd does paint an excellent picture of the Cold War era and the threat of Communism, staying close to the facts and providing an average read with great conversation points.--Susan Hampe. 3Q 3P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.