Hardcover: 352 Pages
Publisher: Blink (March 5, 2019)
From Stephanie Morrill, author of The Lost Girl of Astor Street, comes Within These Lines, the love story of a girl and boy torn apart by racism during World War II.
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 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.
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Soon after the attack of Pearl Harbor, life becomes much more difficult for teen Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki. Evalina and Taichi have been hiding their growing relationship since Taichi's family began delivering produce to Evalina's family's restaurant. Now, resentment for their Japanese- American neighbors are growning in California and talks of relocation centers are starting to arise. Taichi's family is preparing for the inevitable and unknown that awaits them at a War Relocation Center. Evalina is preparing for college without Taichi while wondering how her fellow Americans can be treated with such cruelty. When Taichi and his family are moved, Evalina is there. She continues to fight for the rights of her friends in the Relocation Center while Taichi struggles to navigate his new life.
Within These Lines is a heartfelt, emotional and enlightening World War II historical romance. I was very interested to read more about the US Internment Camps as this part of our history usually glossed over. Taichi and Evalina are amazing characters and I enjoyed watching their relationship grow and change through adversity. Evalina continued to fight for what she thought was right even though everyone had doubts about their relationship. Taichi continued to make the best out of his situation while continually thinking of Evalina's welfare and was willing to sacrifice for her. Through Taichi and Evalina's points of view, I was able to see how the Camps were portrayed from both sides. From Evalina I was able to see the propaganda that the government put out as well as the hatred and misunderstanding that quickly spread and the people who helped and fought for the rights of those interred. From Taichi and his family I was able to see the true conditions of the camps, the lack of adequate housing, food and sanitary facilities and the community that residents were able to form. I was surprised to read about the very real riots in the Manzanar Relocation Center that erupted between the residents. The ending wrapped up rather quickly and I would have loved to see more details of Evalina's and Taichi's romance and what they faced after the war. Overall, a very well researched and historically detailed sincere romance.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Stephanie Morrill is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com and the author of several young adult novels, including the historical mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids.
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