Author: Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Blink YA Books
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A trying time mixed with a forbidden relationship makes for a great read!
In 1941, Evalina Cassano is an Italian American teenager living in San Francisco. Her family owns a very successful restaurant and she has a bright future ahead of her after being accepted to attend Berkley. But the heart wants what the heart wants and hers belongs to a young Japanese American boy named Taichi Hamasaki, the son of the produce farmers that help supply her parents’ restaurant. The relationship is difficult enough as it is, but on December 7th, the Japanese strike Pearl Harbor and overnight America develops an anti-Japanese sentiment. Tacichi’s family burn everything they own from Japan that night before the FBI interrogates them. As the days continue, his family volunteers to go to an internment camp. This will be a test on an already frowned upon relationship, but can their love remain within these lines?
This is a fantastic novel that explores the era of Japanese internment camps in the United States for young adults. This was a dark time in our country’s history that is rarely brought to light because of the embarrassment of what was done. This living situation were ridiculous and Morrill brought those to light in this book. The hatred that was felt toward the Japanese during this time was misplaced at individuals who had nothing to do with the Japanese Empire. I thought the author did a great job of showing this through a teenage relationship. I especially liked how outspoken and hotheaded Evalina was (Italian for sure) and Taichi showed more characteristics of the Japanese culture with being more passive and trying to save Evalina the heartache of knowing just how miserable he really was.
Personally, I think that this book should be a welcome addition to middle grade reading classes. It does a great job of showcasing the history and mixing it with characters that the age genre will enjoy!
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions express within are my own.