Product Details
List Price:
10 to 14
4 to 9
Trim Size:
5.5" x 8.25"
Calkins Creek
ISBN-13: 978-1-62979-498-3
Lexile Level:

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About the Book


Set in 1954, this compelling historical novel tells the story of a young girl’s struggles and triumphs in the aftermath of World War II. The war is over, but the threat of communism and the Cold War loom over the United States. In Detroit, Michigan, twelve-year-old Marjorie Campbell struggles with the ups and downs of family life, dealing with her veteran father’s unpredictable outbursts, keeping her mother’s stash of banned library books a secret, and getting along with her new older “brother,” the teenager her family took in after his veteran father’s death. When a new girl from Germany transfers to Marjorie’s class, Marjorie finds herself torn between befriending Inga and pleasing her best friend, Bernadette, by writing in a slam book that spreads rumors about Inga. Marjorie seems to be confronting enemies everywhere—at school, at the library, in her neighborhood, and even in the news. In all this turmoil, Marjorie tries to find her own voice and figure out what is right and who the real enemies actually are. Includes an author’s note and bibliography.


“Poet Holbrook brings back the Cold War in her debut novel for middle grades. A solid fictional examination of a time rarely depicted for this age group. She’s ace at delineating the petty jealousies and tyrannies of middle school girls and her evocation of the era feels absolutely true. Marjorie’s cowardice and ultimate courage lead to a rousingly satisfying ending that…will resonate with readers.” – Kirkus Reviews  

“…a dominant theme in this book—is developing the understanding that our perceptions of the truth can be wrong. Holbrook uses her own firsthand knowledge…to demonstrate the impact that the outside political and social climate has on (the main character) and her family. An excellent example of historical fiction for middle school readers.” School Library Journal  

“Poet Holbrook crafts a charming story…This historical view of interpersonal relations will no doubt speak to many of today’s readers…Marjorie… is just the right type of character to take readers though this journey...With thoughtful characters and theme…those who are looking for a contemplative reflection on how to open one’s heart will find just what they need in this novel.” VOYA  

“Holbrook brings home the complexities of the Cold War era in a multicultural Detroit neighborhood…Marjorie is a sympathetic character whose struggles to understand fear and prejudice…resonate sharply in today’s political climate.” Publishers Weekly  

“Set in 1954 Detroit, this book brings to life the McCarthyism era of the Cold War….a good addition to historical fictional collections for this often overlooked time period in YA literature.” -School Library Connection  

Meet the Author

Sara Holbrook

Sara Holbrook is the author of multiple poetry books for children published by WordSong/Boyds Mills Press, including Zombies! Evacuate the School!, Weird? (Me, Too!), and Wham! It’s a Poetry Jam. This is her first novel. She lives in Mentor, Ohio. Visit her at

More About This Author
Other Books by Sara Holbrook