Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 5th, 2019
Publisher: Blink YA
Source: ARC received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 5 stars
Evalina Cassano’s life
in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until
she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants.
Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is
illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be
together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the
attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up
their farm and move to an internment camp.
make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only
connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina.
Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out
on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal
at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between
different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he
will ever leave the camp alive.
With tensions running high and
their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their
values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other
against unbelievable odds.
Although this one actually started off slow for me, and I was unsure if I would like it, it really redeemed itself in the end. I usually love historical fiction like this, especially when it is about certain parts of history that I only know the bare minimum about. To be honest, the only thing I really knew about the Japanese detainment camps during WWII had to do with what I’d learned from one of the characters in the original Karate Kid movie. Yeah, I know, that’s sad. I’m sure I learned other things in school, but that is all that stuck with me.
The book started out seeming like it was just going to be a pretty simple romance story with some of the historical times that it was set in. But once we got to the point where Taichi got sent to the camp, it really got into what resonated with me. The fact that here in America we would start a camp, and run it, almost as bad as what the Nazi’s were doing in Germany, frustrates me. However, the book reminded me about how the press made sure to only cover what made it look like the camps were nice relaxing, fun places. That the truth of the matter wasn’t really shown. That kind of detail is so relevant in today’s world, when we hear about fake news, and you hear that governments or companies, want to control what is reported.
But it wasn’t just the Japanese interment camp parts that this book really brought up. There was also the bit that Evalina had to deal with not only as a female, but also as a minority in the country at that time as well. The fact that inter-racial marriage was so illegal at that time, so much more than really ever occurred to me, a very sheltered girl when I was growing up in the suburbs of the 80s.
Overall this was a great historical fiction for teens, and I look forward to putting it in my school library for my students to read.