TITLE: The Astronaut's Daughter
GENRE: YA Historical Romance
In 1963 Texas, 16-year-old Evelyn risks her newfound popularity–and her father’s position with NASA–when she falls for a rising civil rights leader from the rival high school.
I never gave the moon much thought until my father told me he wanted to walk on it.
Sure, lots of people these days probably dreamed of flying a rocket into space. The difference for my father was he might actually go.
My sister Beverly nudged me. “Evelyn, we’re up next.”
I peeked past her to the crowd in the next room. Applause erupted as the current crop of flight test crew waved from a small stage.
My mother turned for a final examination of the two of us. I’d aimed for an Audrey Hepburn look with my silk shift dress, but I felt more like Shirley Temple: the awkward years. She reached across Bev to flatten a fly-away strand from my up-do. I liked the fly-away—it felt more natural. Hair was intended to move.
“The press is here, and a film crew,” my mother said, as if she hadn’t prepared me for weeks. “This will go in the NASA archives. Stand straight.”
She demonstrated a shoulders-back, stomach-sucked-in posture. I straightened and winced as sweat glued my dress to my back.
When I’d imagined the new Manned Spacecraft Center, I pictured sterile metal fixtures and white walls, all cold-seeming to mirror what I expected of space. Instead, I entered a stuffy, formal reception room with all the seasonal luxuries of August in southeast Texas.
The introduction drifted through the doorway: “And our final new recruit for Project Gemini, Mr. Stephen Richardson, along with his family!