The Incredible True Story of the Making of The Eve of Destruction

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Arkansas, 1984: The town of Griffin Flat is known for almost nothing other than its nuclear missile silos. MAD—Mutually Assured Destruction—is a fear every local lives with and tries to ignore. Unfortunately that’s impossible now that film moguls have picked Griffin Flat as the location for a new nuclear holocaust movie, aptly titled The Eve of Destruction.

When sixteen-year-old Laura Ratliff wins a walk-on role (with a plus-one!) thanks to a radio call-in contest, she is more relieved than excited. Mingling with Hollywood stars on the set of a phony nuclear war is a perfect distraction from being the only child in her real nuclear family—which has also been annihilated. Her parents are divorced. Her mother has recently married one of the only African-American men in town. Her father, an officer in the Strategic Air Command, is absent . . . except when he phones at odd hours to hint at an impending catastrophe. But isn’t that his job?

Laura’s only real friend is her new stepbrother, Terrence. She picks him as her plus-one and manages to enrage both her fair-weather friends and film crew. (Now the script has to adjust for “another black.”) But that adjustment is nothing compared to what happens on set after the scripted nuclear explosion. Because nobody seems to know if a real nuclear bomb has detonated or not.

Funny, fast-paced, and darkly fabulous . . . imagine Wargames redone and served up with a twist.
— Leslie Margolis, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Party People and Ghosted
This tragicomic story of Laura and her motley crew is a page-turner from start to finish . . . A clever, superbly written, laugh-out-loud-hilarious story within a story and movie within a movie about nuclear war anxiety in small-town America. You might not learn to love the bomb, but you will love this book.
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
Brashear sprinkles the novel with information about the ‘80s, offering a nuanced sense of time and what it felt like to grow up under nuclear threat . . . In this moment where what constitutes fact is up for debate, Brashear’s seemingly nostalgic romp is extremely timely.
— Publishers Weekly
Though the story takes place in the ‘80s, it feels eerily timely.
— Bustle
This book is smart, irreverent, and hilarious in how it covers everything from the relevant and real paranoia of nuclear war to how to record a bootleg. A teenager’s small town in Arkansas is chosen as the set for a new movie about the end of the world. The book follows the girl’s participation in the making of the movie and the mystery around the ever-persistent bomb sirens. A HUGE twist of all twists at the end! Loved it!
— Lillian James, Island Books, WI