By Erika Swyler
** publication date 7 May 2019 **
Do not wait to read this one. This is a book that kept me fully engaged from start to finish. I finished wanting more!
Florida 1986 and the start of the Space Shuttle program. Meet Nedda. 11 years old and far smarter than her years. Nedda has grown up in the shadow of the space program, in a small town called Easter, a short way from Cape Canaveral. Her father used to work for NASA, but now teaches at the small college nearby. Her mother is a baker creating fascinating concoctions. Nedda’s best friend is Denny, the son of a 3rd generation orange grower. Prater oranges are special oranges, everyone says so. They have a variety of grapefruit that is really special. Denny doesn’t much care about the oranges, but he cares about Nedda and machines.
Nedda’s parents have a secret that they’ve kept from her. A secret that has formed their future selves into what they are now. Nedda dreams of becoming an astronaut like her heroes. Nedda’s father Theo is building something in his lab at the college. Something called the Crucible that is going to change time. Something that is going to forever change Easter and the people who reside there.
While this book starts with Nedda aboard a ship heading toward an unknown planet, we spend time alternating between 1986 and Nedda’s current day on the spaceship. Swyler masterfully takes us back and forth to build the story about Nedda’s past and future. How a small girl with a huge mind helped to alter history once and again. It is also about love. Love of things and people.
I cannot say enough about this book. I stayed up way past my bedtime because Swyler created a world that was fascinating and frightening all at once. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.