Release date: September 25th 2018
It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado–until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.
Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother’s health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.
With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone–even each other?
I was really excited about this book and it didn’t take me long to get sucked into this story. I love historical fiction but it seems like it’s been quite a while since I read one so picking this one up was amazing. It was told in dual POVs from two girls, one German and one Japanese, who’d ended up in the same internment camp in America. Along with the telling of each girl’s story, there were interjections from both girls throughout the book as each of them tried to convince the reader that they were the one telling the truth. It added another level to the story because you knew something must be coming.
The girls’ friendship was the main part of the story. We saw a brief part of Haruko and her family being brought to the camp and Margot was already there, but the story really started when the girls met in school. They weren’t supposed to be friends, cross that imaginary line that divided the German side of the camp from the Japanese, but they felt drawn to each other even when they tried to stay away. As they got to know each other, we got to know them. They were both going through so much and it helped to have a friend, someone to listen as they talked about the changes happening within their families.
The last part of the book had so many twists it was a little hard to keep up, but it didn’t feel like it was too much. I had plenty of theories about what could have happened between the girls, the fight or the betrayal they kept mentioning in their interjections, and the revelations happening so fast made it harder to predict.
Both the story and the afterword by the author showed how much research went into the book. It definitely is an afterword I recommend reading. This is a book I recommend reading, especially if historical fiction is your thing.
*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.