White Sands, Red Menace

Viking, New York, 2008

It’s 1946. World War II is over, ended by the atomic bomb that Dewey Kerrigan?s and Suze Gordon’s scientist parents helped build. At the White Sands Missile Range, Phil Gordon is working on rockets that will someday go to the moon; at home, Terry Gordon is part of the scientists’ movement against the Bomb. Meanwhile, Dewey and her “sister,” Suze, share secrets, art, and science as they adjust to junior high in an isolated desert town. Then, like a different kind of dropped bomb, Dewey’s long-lost mother, Rita Gallucci, reappears in their lives. And she wants to take her daughter away.

Awards & Achievements

  • Winner, California Book Award
  • Winner, New Mexico Book Award
  • Junior Library Guild Selection


Klages has a gift for opening moral dilemmas to middle-graders. First-rate historical fiction.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

In this gripping sequel, set just after World War II, science, mechanics, and politics continue to play a big role in the teen friendship story. The groundbreaking science is part of daily life for the smart techno-teens, and the adult characters are as compelling as the kids. As Klages said in an interview in the November 2007 issue of Book Links magazine, people are excited about future technology, “and others are afraid that there won’t be a future.”

—Hazel Rochman, Booklist

When a historical novel feels contemporary because the emotions and characters feel like they exist in the here and now, that’s the mark of a great book, my friend. One of Klages’ real talents is the balance of the past and the present. Readers who enjoy this period in history, any period in history, rockets, exploding atoms, science, or any or all of that will find something to enjoy here. Great writing, a fascinating plot, and female road hogs (I’m not kidding). What’s not to love? A great follow-up by an accomplished writer.

—Betsy Bird, School Library Journal