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a family's journey through 1960s Berkeley
When the Raysons leave D.C. for the gathering anarchy of Berkeley, each embraces the moment in a hippie paradise that’s fast becoming a cultural ground zero. As family and school fade away in a tear gas fog, young Alice feels an ambiguous freedom in the 1960s counterculture. Following the Summer of Love, she must find her way through a new world where street signs hang backward and there’s a bootleg candy called Orange Sunshine.
2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Literary Fiction
“This intense retrospective on people yanked out of the strait-laced Fifties and tossed into a culture of anything goes will appeal to readers wanting to learn more about Berkeley’s days of rage.” — G. J. Berger, Historical Novel Society
“Playground Zero is an exceptional piece of literary fiction that puts Sarah Relyea in a league of her own. The characters are unique and authentic to the era and geography.” — Readers’ Favorite (5-star review)
“An eerily compelling déjà vu of the free, wild, and jeopardy-ridden kid scene in late-1960s Berkeley. Uncanny and powerful.” — Charles Degelman, Editor, Harvard Square Editions
“This is a powerful, historical drama. Well constructed.” — Readers’ Favorite (5-star review)