An ordinary Kansas town experiences the extraordinary over the summer of 1977.
When 17-year-old Stella’s brother left the family two years ago for Red Sun, a nearby commune, Stella had to abandon her dreams of becoming an engineer to take care of her little sister while their father worked long hours. Galliard, a 16-year-old musician with Tourette’s, was the first person born and raised at Red Sun. When Galliard’s application for resident artist is denied, he does something he’s never done: considers life Outside. Then several unusual things happen: pink lightning streaks through the sky, blood-red rain soaks the ground, and oddest of all, a clock appears, projected by an unseen source, on the face of the town hall—and on Stella’s closet door. The titular unknowable end refers not only to the mysterious countdown, but also to the teens’ futures. Can—will—Stella and Galliard (who take turns narrating) forge new paths for themselves, or will they remain stuck in their respective traps? Who—or what—is responsible for the countdown, and what will happen when time runs out? Drive-in showings of Star Wars, the dawn of the punk-rock explosion, the final days of Son of Sam’s reign of terror, and the death of Elvis are just some of the events firmly grounding the story in reality. Assume whiteness throughout.
Realism with a hint of science fiction will inspire readers to question their own trajectories. (Historical fiction. 13-18)