I didn’t realise the book was set around the Manhattan Project until around the hundredth page. Actually, it is not really about the Manhattan Project but about a young girl, who is small for her age (10 to 12 as the story progresses) and who likes maths. Like many protagonists in children’s fiction, Dewey is an outsider, she is used to her own company and likes to fiddle around with clocks, motors and an Erector set (American version of Meccano). Dewey’s father is a mathematician and Dewey goes to join him at Los Alamos, where her father is working with others on a top secret project. Her mother deserted her when she was very small and she has a handicap as a result of an accident, one of her legs is shorter than the other, so she needs a special shoe.
The other scientists’ kids aren’t very friendly to Dewey, they nickname her “Screwy Dewey”. When Dewey’s father makes a trip to Washington, Dewey is taken in by a neighbour, whose daughter, Suze is one of Dewey’s chief tormentors. “Helping” Dewey unpack, Suze comes across something interesting:
Suze reached in and picked up a book, riffling the pages with a thumb. “The Boy Mechanic,” she said, snickering. “Why do you have that?”
“They didn’t make one for girls,” Dewey replied.
The story focuses mainly on the awkward relationship between the two girls.
The green glass sea of the title is the site of the first atomic bomb test. Where the sand was turned into glass by the heat of the explosion.
My rating 4 out of 5