Hi there! I’m back again here (for once), and it’s with a review of a book due out this September. First and foremost, thank you to The Novl for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review. This in no way affects the way I read and will review it.
Title: The War Outside
Author: Monica Hesse
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected release: September 25, 2018
My rating: 3/5 Goodreads stars
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?
There were a lot of good things about this book, but it wasn’t quite the book for me. I really love historical fiction. History is something that always fascinated me, and it was one of my favorite subject in high school. That being said, there were some really cool things about this book that made me keep reading.
This is set in an internment camp that actually exists. The author’s note in the back of the ARC provided a lot of really cool facts about the camp and what it was used for. I love the amount of research and detail that went into this book. It shows through the writing how much labor went into ensuring historical accuracy. Not only that, but this is an internment camp that isn’t talked about often enough in American history. I like that Hesse decided to shed light onto something that is otherwise brushed aside. It gives space and exposure to something that needs it. I wanted to know more about Crystal City the more I read about it through Haruko and Margot, and it compelled me to look a little deeper.
Another part I liked about this book was the dual POV. The story is told from Haruko and Margot’s points of view. They guide the reader first hand through what it was like to experience the internment camp. I can only imagine the feelings they have are very real. It was interesting to see them come together despite their obvious differences. I think they came together because of their differences.
One thing I disliked about this book was that I didn’t feel too attached to either of the main characters. While their voices are strong and the emotion very real, I couldn’t quite buy into either of them.
Overall I recommend this to people looking for a change. I think this one is worth reading purely to learn more about the time period within America with a setting that isn’t explored often enough. This might not have worked too well for me, but it might for you!!