Featured Review: Within These Lines (Stephanie Morrill)
About This Book:
When Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki are torn apart by the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor, they must fight if they want any hope of returning to one another before World War II steals their future together. Within These Lines is one unflinching, haunting, historical novel you don’t want to miss; perfect for fans of Monica Hesse, Ruta Sepetys, and Elizabeth Wein. Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family living in San Francisco in 1941 is quiet and ordinary 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 a Japanese-American internment camp. Degrading treatment makes life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world is treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out against injustice, 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 ideals and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.
*Review Contributed By Kim Baccellia Staff Reviewer*
Italian-American Evalina Cassano falls in love with Japanese-American Taichi Hamasaki in 1941. Then Pearl Harbor happens and their forbidden love faces anti-Japanese hatred. When Taichi and his family, along with other Japanese-Americans, are set to US internment camps, Evalina refuses to give up on him. Life at Manzanar Relocation Center is degrading and difficult. During all of this, Evalina and Taichi try to stay strong and survive. Even when the odds are against their love.
What worked: This is a powerful, haunting glimpse into US Japanese Internment camps during WWII. What's really sad is how that one saying, that those who forget history are bound to repeat it, is very true with our current political climate. Readers are able to see the horrors of a people being rounded up and sent to 'relocation' centers, which were in fact really internment camps. Japanese-Americans lost not only their livelihoods, but were subjected to difficult and horrific conditions. Against these odds readers meet Evalina, an Italian-American, who falls in love with Taichi. I really liked how Evalina isn't afraid to stand up and speak out against the injustices she sees around her. She refuses to believe the propaganda that tells Americans that the internment camps are like summer camp. **Sound familiar with what's happening right now in 2019 US?
Taichi's story is one of survival and courage. Readers see the horrific conditions of the camps, along with the 'bullies' who harass those they feel are spies and are against Japan. Taichi and Evalina have so much against them-it's illegal to have an interracial marriage and anti-Japanese sentiment is everywhere. Though this all, they both fight for their love.
The romance is sweet and haunting. Readers can't help but cheer for these two.
Ageless tale of racism, hatred, but also one that is filled with hope. Highly recommended especially for those unfamiliar with a shameful time in the US past. A great book to use for discussions on internment camps.