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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

20 April 2015

Secret City

Secret City by Julia Watts takes place in the Oak Ridge, Tennessee - a town created by the government for scientists to develop the atomic bomb during World War II.

Sixteen year old Ruby Pickett has moved to Oak Ridge with her family. None of them know what is being developed in the town of secrets. While the rest of her family is sad to have moved away from her grandparents, Ruby is excited to be less isolated. She now lives in a town with a library - and she loves to read more than almost anything else.

Ruby meets a woman who likes to read as much as she does. Iris is a young mother and wife, moved to Oak Ridge with her physicist husband. At twenty-three she finds herself in the role of house wife - not a great use of her college education.

Ruby and Iris work out a deal where Ruby will babysit, which will help her family's income and give Iris someone intelligent with whom to have conversations. Over time, Ruby and Iris grow closer together.

Watts has written an account of the changing times of 1944. Her two main characters are wonderful and trapped in a time that does not necessarily appreciate their curiosity and ambition.

Watts, Julia. (2013). Secret City. Tallahassee, FL: Bella Books.

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