Posted August 24th, 2015 by Puckbrina159
A Book Review by Camille
Franny is an 11-year-old girl living just outside of Washington, D.C. during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Not only does Franny have to deal with the normal dramas of being a kid (family troubles, friend troubles, school troubles, boy troubles, etc), but of course also the constant threat of missile attacks. The story begins when the siren signifying that everyone must duck and cover goes of while Franny's grade are all outside for recess. From here, Franny is challenged with her sister becoming distant, her uncle's physical and mental health plummeting, her teacher ignoring her, her best friend suddenly turning on her, and a boy next door who only complicates things more.
There are two main things that really set "Countdown" apart from other historical fiction books. The first is that it wasn't ALL about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Actually, the majority of the story is about the struggles of Franny's usual life that would still be there if the Crisis wasn't going on. In fact, what I loved the most about this book was the story of Franny's life and the Crisis was just the perfect little cherry on top of everything. There was just the right amount of talk of the Crisis and Franny's usual life. The other thing that sets it apart from other historical fiction books is the format. It was what I believe is technically called a "documentary novel." Intertwined with a brilliant story were things like quotes, song lyrics, pictures, and mini biographies that were all relevant to the event.The parts that were like this were interesting and written in such a way that didn't at all make it boring or even feel like you were learning something. It was just a great way to actually teach the reader a few things about the event without just bombarding them with a million boring facts.
Now, I'll admit that I was skeptical of this book at first, because it's historical fiction which I'm normally bored to death by. I'm so incredibly happy that I didn't let that stand in my way of reading this book, because it honestly changed me. I found myself crying not only during the intense or sad parts, but also just at some random moments because it was just so good. Anyone of any age could potentially fall in love with this book. If you're like me in the respect that you normally don't enjoy historical fiction all that much, please don't let that stand in your way of reading it. I promise that you'll love it regardless of whether you like the genre or not.
This book is actually the first of a trilogy called "The Sixties Trilogy." The third book is yet to be released, but the second, titled "Revolution," is out and in stores. I haven't read it yet, but I am very eager to based on "Countdown." The books don't actually have to be read in order or even as a set. They're about different characters, and each set in a different event during the 1960's. I can't even describe how excited I am about reading more of Deborah Wiles' books, because she's such a brilliant writer.
I strongly urge you to read "Countdown." It is truly an amazing book that I'm going to carry with me through life forever. It had such a huge impact on me and I'm very happy that I picked it up and read it.
See more stories by Camille