Orchards

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1269 0
Orchards
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 22, 2011
ISBN
978-0385739771
Buy This Book
      

Winner of the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature
An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book


After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.
Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Sad and Beautiful Novel in Verse
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Orchards is a hefty free verse novel, both in pages (325) and theme (teenage suicide). Despite its weight, I read it in one day and loved it completely. Holly Thompson has crafted memorable characters and a unique setting for a YA novel.

The daughter of a Japanese mother and a Jewish father, Kana Goldberg is a member of a crew of eighth grade girls who are scattered after the suicide of a classmate. Kana is sent to live with her grandmother's family on a mikan (orange) farm in Japan. In a new culture, Kana has become the outsider and has time to dwell on the way her clique treated Ruth after she is seen talking with a boy that their leader likes.

The entire novel is written as Kana addressing Ruth, sorting through what could have been and how it has changed her. Kana's emotions are realistic: anger, shame, and regret are only a few that she cycles through. Through her emails with her friends, she realizes that everyone processes Ruth's death in their own way, but they are all forever affected:

"all of us complain
only a little

I think we will always complain
only a little

anything more
seeming like
drama

after what happened
to you"

Having lived in Japan for a year, I love reading books that include Japanese culture. Holly Thompson has lived in Japan for over sixteen years and did extensive research into mikan farming. Reading Orchards was like stepping back into my days in Japan--the imagery had me tasting the food, smiling at the manners and respect shown to elders, and wishing I could attend the matsuri, summer festivals, again. Although Kana speaks Japanese and understands the culture more than I ever will, I could relate to her initial awkwardness as she tries to fit in. Like everything else in this novel, it felt authentic.

Orchards is a novel that will appeal to bicultural students, Japanophiles, readers who have lost a loved one, poetry fans, and anyone who has struggled to fit in...almost anyone could find something to love here.
Good Points
Moving and authentic
Gives a great insight into life on a rural farm in Japan
Hooray for bicultural characters!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Thomas Edison: Lighting the Way
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Learn about the life of Thomas Edison in this early...
Cuddle Close, Little Koala
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A reassuring bedtime story about the special bond between a...
Pete the Cat: 5-Minute Bedtime Stories: Includes 12 Cozy Stories!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Pete the Cat for 12 groovy, cozy stories perfect...
Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been...
Ty's Travels: All Aboard!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Ty on his imaginative adventures in Ty's Travels: All...
Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A stunning non-fiction picture book about the origins of the...
Sabina: In the Eye of the Storm
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As in Anne Frank's "Diary of a Young Girl" and...
Ghost Wood Song
 
0.0
 
4.0 (1)
Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie...
My Love is All Around
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around...
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia really doesn't like her nickname - mostly because it...
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The other kids may laugh, but I always feel safe...
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From breakfast to dinner, dusk to dawn, children will love...
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming story with a message as big as an...
The State of Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Dre and Dean have got my vote!"—Adib Khorram, award-winning...
My Calamity Jane
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers,...
Little Creeping Things
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just...

Latest Member Reviews

Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2)
 
5.0
"RAGE AND RUIN is a fantastic sequel in THE HARBINGER series. Picking up where the first book left off, we..."
Ghost Wood Song
 
4.0
"Shady Grove inherited her father's talent to play a fiddler to call the dead. He used a special fiddle to..."
The Falling in Love Montage
 
5.0
"THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE is a beautiful YA contemporary romance that follows Saoirse (Seer-sha). Saoirse speaks to the reader..."
Crave
 
4.3
"After the death of her parents, Grace comes to an Alaskan boarding school. Once there, she senses something is 'off'..."
You Brought Me the Ocean
 
3.7
"YOU BROUGHT ME THE OCEAN is a graphic novel of the origin story for Aqualad. Jake is 17 and living..."
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
 
2.0
" I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth centers around a..."
Pumpkinheads
 
4.7
"I am pretty new to graphic novels so when I won a copy of 'Pumpkin Heads' on GoodReads I was..."
Burn
 
3.7
"BURN imagines a world that is just like ours, except that dragons exist. Dragons have been around for longer than..."
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed
 
5.0
"WONDER WOMAN: TEMPEST TOSSED is a fantastic new story featuring Diana coming into her own. She has been raised among..."
The Archer at Dawn (The Tiger at Midnight, #2)
 
5.0
"THE ARCHER AT DAWN is a fantastic sequel in the THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT trilogy. This second book picks up..."
My Calamity Jane
 
5.0
"What worked: This is a fun paranormal twist on historical figures set in the Wild West of 1876. I loved..."
Where Dreams Descend
 
5.0
"FEEDBACK This book was everything I wanted and more. It begins with Kallia and her performance. It quickly descends into..."
The State of Us
 
5.0
"THE STATE OF US is a really fantastic YA contemporary romance that follows the children of two political rivals. Dean's..."
Live Like Legends
 
5.0
"LIVE LIKE LEGENDS is an absolutely fantastic YA fantasy romance. We follow Kalista, who is a princess born to be..."
Blood Countess (Lady Slayers)
 
4.3
"Visually, this book is a gorgeous work of art, splattered with blood from cover to cover. For those familiar with..."
Like Sisters on the Homefront
 
4.7
"Top 3 reasons to read LIKE SISTERS ON THE HOMEFRONT: 1.) The characters- Gayle, a NYC girl sent to..."
Daphne and Velma: The Vanishing Girl
 
3.7
"Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley are opposites. Daphne is popular, traditionally pretty, and sociable. Velma prefers books and information to..."
Felix Ever After
 
5.0
"Felix has never been in love, but he wants to be. He wants the experience of opening your heart, having..."
The Sullivan Sisters
 
5.0
"Eileen, Claire, and Murphy Sullivan used to be close. They had their special traditions, their shared laughs, and their shared..."
The Summer of Impossibilities
 
3.7
"THE SUMMER OF IMPOSSIBILITIES is a YA contemporary about friendship in the vein of THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS...."