Review: WITHIN THESE LINES / by Stephanie Morrill

Within These Lines  / by Stephanie Morrill
Blink     ISBN     9780310765233
HS     Grades 8+     Rating:     5

Stephanie Morrill, author of Lost Girl of Astor Street, pens another young adult historical novel, this one is set during World War II, featuring the relationship of a Japanese American boy and an Italian American girl.

In Within These Lines, Evalina Cassano falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki amidst the anti-Japanese feelings arising across the US, following the attack on bombing on Pearl Harbor.

Taichi’s family is deported to an internment camp, placing on their future in jeopardy. Taichi’s only tie to the world outside the Manzanar Relocation Center are the letters from Evalina, letters which he treasures but his replies to her are few.

While waiting for Taichi’s release, Evaline starts speaking out about the injustices experienced by the Japanese Americans. Taichi finds himself torn between different Japanese-American factions within Manzanar. He doubts he will leave camp alive. Will their love persevere despite the obstacles they face?

Stephanie Morrill’s sensitively portrays how the incarceration of Japanese Americans at Manzanar and other camps was caused by fear and suspicion. Morrill treats the reader to a story with descriptive narrative and characters they will embrace. Within These Lines is a thoughtful story of love in the face of intolerance and prejudice during wartime. Its themes of love, separation, social justice, war, racism, and injustice run throughout the story. The reader is engaged, hoping against hope that these star-crossed lovers will find their future together despite all the odds.

The relationship between Taichi and Evalina is clean, and one secondary character, a single woman, has a miscarriage that is mentioned a few times. The faith element is light, and some racial slurs are mentioned. There is some violence against the Japanese Americans, as is expected, given the storyline.

Recommended for public and school libraries for high school, young adults — and adults who enjoy a moving historical novel about a shameful time in US history.

Carol R. Gehringer

Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.

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