The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 19, 2012
I’d read The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages when I was in seventh grade, but for whatever reason, four or five years later, I recently decided to pick it up again and I am so glad I did.

The story of ten-year-old Dewey Kerrigan: a quirky, intellectual little girl who loves to tinker with electronics and invent things. Her mother left when she was very young, so she yearns for a mother-figure in her life. One day, her father is given the opportunity to work on the Manhattan Project, and everything changes for Dewey. The majority of the book is a narrative of her life on ‘the Hill’.

There is a sense of mystery throughout the whole book since it is told from the angle of the children who lived with their scientist parents who worked to build the atomic bomb. The parents refer to everything in code so the children try to show their intelligence at guessing what ‘the gadget’ is, and what goes on in the laboratories. From my perspective, it was fun to have outside knowledge on the topic and see things from the kids point of view. After the bomb was tested, Dewey is taken to the desert testing site. As it is described, the ‘green glass sea’ made by the bomb, along with other characteristics of the site, contributes to the surreal and mystical feeling surrounding ‘the gadget’.

Klages’s descriptions really let me connect with the characters. As they struggled, my heart ached too. This is one of the few books--up there with Lord of the Rings and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn--that have drawn tears from me.

It was a great experience to fall in love with this spunky, intelligent girl named Dewey Kerrigan. I would definitely recommend The Green Glass Sea to anyone--especially those who love historical fiction, humor, and a poignant story.

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