I’m so excited to be today’s stop for Within These Lines blog tour hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club! I’m going to share my thoughts on the book, as well as some of my favorite quotes.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Within These Lines
by Stephanie Morrill
Release date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, WWII
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.
Degrading treatment 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.
𝑀𝓎 𝑅𝒶𝓉𝒾𝓃𝑔: ☆☆☆☆☆
It broke my heart on so many levels yet somehow managed to stitch it back together by the end. I was on the verge of crying happy tears after turning the last page.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Camp Amache, a Japanese-American relocation center located in Colorado, and though there was hardly anything left besides a few information signs, some foundations, and broken-down guard towers to show what life might have been like there, the trip sparked something in me that was kindled further by reading Within These Lines. This book is a brilliant work of historical fiction, well researched and utterly captivating.
“Sometimes loving a person feels like the most painful thing there is.”
I’ve read some novels written with dual perspectives that fell a little flat, and sometimes I’ve felt a little guilty because I wanted to skip one character’s chapter to get to the second character’s because those chapters were more interesting. NOT SO WITH WITHIN THESE LINES! Both Evalina and Taichi were very interesting characters and each chapter was just as attention-holding as the last. If anything, I was sometimes a little worried to turn a page because I was scared of what might happen next in the book! The fear and suspense was very real.
“Can’t it be both? Can’t I feel grateful for the freedoms of my country, as well as voice my opinion about errors in judgment that I see? Isn’t my right to do so part of what makes our country great?”
Evalina. I loved her so much! She was a fighter from the very beginning. She saw through the propaganda and refused to back down and keep quiet about her beliefs. The easy way out wasn’t for her. I think people (including myself) would do well to model themselves after her strong character.
Taichi. His chapters were the source of 9/10ths of the feels I felt while reading this book. Seeing Manzanar through his eyes and reading his thoughts were like a knife to the heart. It hurt. A lot. And I think that was a good thing. That sort of thing needs to hurt. Brutal honesty was extremely present in this book, and I was glad of it.
“But think about if it was reversed, Taichi. If she were Japanese and you were Caucasian. Would you want to eat at restaurants that refuse to serve her? Would you want friendships with people who looked down on her? Of course not…Evalina being with you doesn’t cost her anything than what her own principles already demand.”
There were so many important topics talked about in this book – it wasn’t just about racism. Should we stand up and voice our beliefs no matter the consequences, or sit down and see if things sort themselves out for the better? Does speaking out against our government make us anti-American? I also found myself thinking about something that Evalina questioned in the book – why were only Japanese Americans sent to relocation camps? Why not also Italian Americans and other immigrants from the countries America was at war with? Though perhaps some questions don’t have set-in-stone answers, I admired how much this book has the potential to spark discussions about history.
While romance was the main part of Within These Lines, I also greatly enjoyed the friendship aspect. Taichi’s and Evalina’s friends were the best. They were accepting, even if it was a hesitant acceptance, and stuck by their friends through everything. And as I’m writing this review, I’m remembering all of the wonderful scenes throughout the book and I kind of feel like crying again because seriously, it was just SUCH A GOOD BOOK! I loved it, and if 100-star ratings were a thing, this book would have one.
The only tiny thing I want to mention that I didn’t like was that the epilogue sort of rushed through some things, which left me with a few questions I would have liked to have had answered. However, besides this, I loved the epilogue, and the book in its entirety was absolutely incredible and impactful. My heart broke, but I want to thank Stephanie Morrill for writing an ending that picked up all the pieces and put them back together. Within These Lines is now my favorite read of this year!!!
For a chance to win this beautiful book, enter the giveaway linked below!
About the Author
Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at StephanieMorrill.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Prize: 5 sets of a Finished Copy of Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill + a Signed Bookplate + and a pre-order poster (USA only)