Well, now it's official - I am old enough to have a book about my elementary school years be considered "historical" fiction! Countdowntakes place in 1962 and fear is everywhere. For the first time, there is a real threat of atomic war. People were taught to "duck and cover" when they heard the air-raid drill. I remember hiding under my desk thinking it would protect me from the atomic bomb. Although this book took me back to my childhood (reading Nancy Drew, listening to early '60s music), there's plenty for today's middle school reader to enjoy.
Things like fighting with your best friend (over a boy), being embarrassed by family members, and going to your first boy-girl party, are universal.
Franny, the narrator, is funny, smart, and adventurous. You'll be happy you picked up this book, and the additional pictures and newsclippings from the '60s make this novel even more interesting.