Where the Ground Meets the Sky

Overview

One morning, twelve-year-old Hazel wakes to discover that her father, a brilliant physicist, has moved away in the middle of the night. It’s 1944, and Hazel’s father has agreed to help the U.S. government develop a secret weapon that will win World War II. His decision turns Hazel’s world upside-down — soon, she and her mother move out west to be with him, to a strange town with no name that everyone calls “the Hill.” The Hill is surrounded by a chain-link fence and barbed wire....

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Overview

One morning, twelve-year-old Hazel wakes to discover that her father, a brilliant physicist, has moved away in the middle of the night. It’s 1944, and Hazel’s father has agreed to help the U.S. government develop a secret weapon that will win World War II. His decision turns Hazel’s world upside-down — soon, she and her mother move out west to be with him, to a strange town with no name that everyone calls “the Hill.” The Hill is surrounded by a chain-link fence and barbed wire. Armed guards patrol its perimeter night and day.

With her new friend, Eleanor, Hazel goes on secret missions to try and solve the many mysteries that the Hill hides. Who is sending secret radio messages from the base? What happened to Eleanor’s cat? And most importantly, what is the mysterious “gadget” that the scientists are building day and night?

“This suspenseful story successfully captures the tensions of a volatile period in American history as the atomic bomb was being developed. Readers will be left with plenty to think about and no simple answers.” —School Library Journal

During World War II, a twelve-year-old girl is uprooted from her quiet, East coast life and moved to a secluded army post in the New Mexico desert where her father and other scientists are working on a top secret project.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Davies' first novel covers much the same territory as Paul Zindel's recent The Gadget: Los Alamos during the last years of World War II. Cloistered and secretive, it is a tough place for a kid to live. It's even tougher for twelve-year-old Hazel. Her father is a "fizzler," one of the physicists working on the Atomic Bomb. Her mother is a free spirit who refuses to become involved with the life of the camp, and eventually succumbs to depression as she realizes the goal of her husband's work. This leaves very bright Hazel torn between her parents' intelligence and a quest for answers herself through her best girlfriend, and eventually through friendship with a boy and his illegal ham radio set. Davies' approach to her story is more thoughtful and introspective than Zindel's. It is well written, and a welcome addition to Los Alamos lore. 2002, Marshall Cavendish,
— Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-This well-constructed novel has the elements of a good adventure story but also depicts one family's struggle to stay together in the face of adversity. The year is 1944 and war is raging in Europe and the Pacific while 12-year-old Hazel is fighting her own battles somewhere in the New Mexico desert. Life has gotten complicated and lonely since her dad brought her and her mother to live on the Hill, a military base surrounded by a chain-link fence and barbed wire. A brilliant physicist, he and other scientists are working on the Big Mystery, while Hazel's mother, who believes that secrets are "bad for the soul," has slowly retreated into her own world. Hazel is a strong protagonist who behaves with compassion and sensitivity toward family and friends. She experiences the emotional loss of her mother and the physical loss of her father, who spends countless hours at work on "the gadget." The gold-star banners found on some of the houses on the Hill that signify the death of a serviceman, and the death of Hazel's friend's cat, which had been exposed to radiation, symbolize the tragic nature of war. The descriptive narrative wonderfully juxtaposes the dreariness of the Hill with the beauty of the natural landscape, offering hope. This suspenseful story successfully captures the tensions of a volatile period in American history as the atomic bomb was being developed. Readers will be left with plenty to think about and no simple answers.-Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761451877
  • Publisher: Amazon Childrens Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/15/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 384,222
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.64 (d)

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