THREE friends, TWO secrets, ONE lie, and the summer that changed their lives.
The world is ripe for destruction in 1953. The Korean War drags on and the Rosenbergs are executed as spies. Senator Joseph McCarthy convinces the country communists are infiltrating the government, and the threat of nuclear war festered in the collective consciousness of the nationWhile the nation worries about communist bombs, sixteen-year-old Bernadette Vaughn holds court in the family bomb shelter, finagling a way to read Kinsey’s groundbreaking work on human sexuality. She obsesses about boys and big city life. Her best friend, Faith McNulty is a devout Catholic who dreams of staying in their small town, marrying Allen Hanlon, and raising a family. Their awkward and unattractive friend, Octavia Mansfield doesn’t have room in her life for boys, dreams, or God. She spends most of her young life caring for her severely disabled brother.
Their conversations about what each of them would do if the end of the world were imminent become the catalyst for a prank that spins wildly beyond control and draws in an entire town.
Left behind in the wake of that summer’s events are their unrealized dreams and open wounds. In 1973, a reunion trip to the small town of their youth returns them to the summer of 1953 and the passion and betrayal that changed their lives.
Atomic Summer received an Honorable Mention at the 2012 Southern California book Festival.