Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII
No. of pages: Hardcover, 352
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Date Read: February 23, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon | B+N | TBD
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 interracial 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 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.
Thanks to Blink for having me on this blog tour!
Within These Lines is a thoughtful, provoking novel of determination and love in the face of war and turmoil. This truly is one that makes you think and remembered that the big events within the book took place. It forces you to remember the history of this country, even the bleakest memory. And, it doesn’t sugar coat it.
Within These Lines follows Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki, an Italian-American girl and a Japanese-American boy that are in a hidden relationship in the 1940s. Interracial marriage and dating are highly frowned upon at this time in California to begin with but to make matters worse, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor and the consequences for Japanese-Americans in Western US are evacuations to relocation centers. Taichi’s family is ‘relocated’ to Manzanar, one of 10 relocation centers where Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during WWII. Evalina and Taichi begin sending letters to each other, Evalina telling Taichi about her day and helping at another relocation center by her and Taichi telling Evalina that conditions at Manzanar are good (even though they’re not). After a visit from Evalina at Manzanar, things between the two steadily decline: Taichi breaks up with her and Evalina doesn’t agree and continues sending letters. As Evalina starts college, she faces opposition by other students and her professor, but she continues to wholeheartedly fight and stand for the Japanese-Americans incarcerated. As the one year anniversary draws closer and the atmosphere in Manzanar takes some turns for the worst, Taichi realizes that he might not make it out alive. These two, even though it seems bleak, hold onto hope that they’ll make it back to each other, but the odds are weighted heavily against them.
First, Evalina and Taichi’s relationship is so stinkin’ cute. They met at the market where her family buys produce from his family. Then they see each other on produce visits to her family’s restaurant. Then they take some walks and pass some notes to each other. Super cute stuff. Obviously, interracial marriage and dating is a normal part of our culture today, but in the 1940s, it was real taboo stuff. I liked how the author really did the research and included this in it, because I think it helps to set the tone more to how wrong it was that the incarceration of innocent Americans truly was. This book was split between Evalina and Taichi’s point-of-views and all throughout, it was interesting to see how their versions of events differed, but also how much they each noticed of each other, but the other didn’t know. I also really liked that we got to see each other’s frustration of the situation at hand, but that neither gave up, but continued to hold onto the hope that something would change soon.
I also really liked that Morrill didn’t try to cover anything up with regard to the detention centers. She told it like it was based on the information and witnesses accounts that we have from that period. She didn’t attempt to make you comfortable but put the imagery of what it truly looked like and felt like in Manzanar on the page. Events and tragedies like the detention centers for Japanese-Americans happened and on American soil. That’s not something you can cover up and that’s not something that you can say didn’t happen. If anything, you should remember and do everything in your power to let it not happen again, or at the least, make others aware. If you read this or something like this, that shows what truly happened to people, innocent people, and feel nothing, then you need to check yourself. If you read this and want to turn away, keep reading because you can’t just turn something this off and pretend that it didn’t happen or that it doesn’t exist today. Events like this need to be talked about in order to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.
I truly liked every piece of this story. It made me think and made me remember that there very well could’ve been stories like Evalina and Taichi’s during this time. It was thought-provoking and well-crafted. It was a wonderful historical fiction novel and if you’re one for historical fiction reads, this is definitely one I’d recommend. Within These Lines released on Tuesday, March 5th. Make sure to check out the links above for places to find it!
Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author is 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.
Make sure to check out the list of blogs below! The time and effort that they’ve put into their reviews and posts are worth it!
Rattle the Stars
Reading Corner for All
Confessions of a YA Reader
Phannie the Ginger Bookworm
Reading With Wrin
Here’s to Happy Endings
A Bookish Dream
Bloggin’ ’bout Books
Disappear In Ink