Cover Image: Within These Lines

Within These Lines

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Member Reviews

It is 1942 in California. The events at Pearl Harbor have just happened and America is on edge. In the midst of it all Taichi, a Japanese-American, is in love with Evalina, an Italian-American. 

When Executive Order 9066 goes into effect requiring Japanese-Americans to evacuate to internment camps, Taichi and Evalina have already been seeing each other for months. But after Pearl Harbor, no one trusts anyone who even looks Japanese. It is more dangerous than ever for them to be together and more difficult. Taichi and his family are sent to Manzanar and the couple has to deal with long-distance in addition to everything else.

There is no shortage of historical fiction set during WWII, so it is difficult to stand out among the masses. Within These Lines succeeds at this, though, by shedding light on a lesser-known part of the war: Executive Order 9066, which allowed for the removal and internment of Japanese-Americans from the west coast after Pearl Harbor. Morrill has done her research and intersperses real events with her fictional characters.

Taichi and Evalina are flawed, but likable. Evalina is fiery and empathetic. She stands up for what is right even when it gets her in trouble. Taichi is more reserved, but puts others before himself. It is in this shared empathy and values that you can see why they work as a couple. You root for them and hope they can overcome all that is being thrown at them. 

I liked that the story begins with them already an established couple. They talk about how they met and fell in love, but all of the action is when they are already together, which was unusual for a historical romance. I liked that, though, because you got to focus more on the historical backdrop and how its effects rippled throughout.

If you like historical fiction, this is a great addition to the genre.

**I received an e-ARC from Netgalley**
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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.
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I enjoy reading Historical Fiction, and WWII has always fascinated me. I appreciated the author bringing to light this lesser-known and heart-wrenching time in this period of American History and dealing with it with a sense of grace and gravity.

I liked that we were able to view this time from the perspective of a young, multi-racial couple. Evalina is Italian-American, Taichi is Japanese-American. I think because of that, we were able to see, even more clearly the struggles and prejudices these people were forced to face.

I liked Taichi. He was authentic and relatable. Even after being forced from his home and being made to live in terrible conditions, he (and his family) still maintained such a level of dignity and patriotism, and that made me really admire them. I’m glad the author allowed us to read from his POV and get a “first-hand” view of what life really might have been like in the Japanese-American Internment Camps. 
(Note: I have always admired the Nissei that fought with such distinction in WWII, and I like that the author touched on them just a bit, even if I would have liked to read a bit more... 😉)

For some reason, though, I had a hard time connecting with Evalina. I understand her heartache and that there were so many horrible things happening that she was nearly powerless to change, but I would have liked to see more kindness and sincere fighting for the right thing, instead of blow-ups...

Overall, though, this was a really incredible book. I think I read it in about a day. 😂 I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did—truly a good read. I think it is so incredibly important that we as Americans take an honest look at our history and learn from it, so we do not repeat the same mistakes as those that went before.

Note: One thing Evalina repeatedly asks is why are the Japanese being interred and not the Italians and Germans. Well, there actually were Germans and Italians being put in camps as well during that time. Not quite as many as the Japanese, but it did happen to them as well. For the same reason—people were fearful that they would turn against their adopted country in support of their Native homeland
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Italian American Evalina and Japanese American Taichi are dating. Their relationship is put to test when the U.S. government interns Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor. With Taichi in an internment camp, Evalina struggles to keep the relationship alive. Morrill wrote a powerful story that shows the impact of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II on an interracial couple. Evalina and Taichi is already a couple when the novel begins, albeit their relationship is kept a secret from both sets of parents. The novel alternates between Taichi's life inside Manzanar Relocation Center and Evalina's life outside of it. The book excels at showing what went on at Manzanar, particularly the tension between Japanese Americans who supported the United States's are effort and those who supported Japan's. Evalina and Taichi are the point of view characters but we also spend some time with their family and friends which makes their story feel more natural, although some readers may find one or both characters and their romance a little too "perfect." Highly recommended for libraries that want to build their young adult historical fiction collections.
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Within the Lines may have been written for a young adult audience, but it is a story that will appeal to young adult and not-so-young adult readers alike. In saying that, I think this is a must-read for young adult readers in particular, because it is an eye-opening reminder of the pain and inhumanity people inflict on one another when they allow fear and anger to guide them. If we don’t teach the generations to come about these lesser-known parts of history, however shameful they may be, we doom them to make the same mistakes, and in Evalina and Taichi’s story, the shame of the past is couched in a story of determination, resilience, and a love that perseveres in spite of the obstacles in its path.

Evalina and Taichi both resonated with me for different reasons. Evalina is a young woman who knows her own mind and chafes against a world that doesn’t always see things the same way she does. As she says at one point, “My soul is so loud, it’s hard to keep the rest of me quiet.” Taichi is equally determined to help people see the truth, but his method is quiet compliance. Surely if they comply peacefully with the military evacuation order, the government will see that they pose no threat. But that optimism is shattered when they arrive at their new accommodation and realise just how much dignity they’ve lost in twenty-four hours.

Their story is told simply but beautifully, their struggles touching on some of the most foundational truths of what it means to be human. And there are some powerful quotes from the story that will stay with me:

“Shame has given birth to anger inside my chest, and there are precious few safe places for us to show our anger. To one another is the only one we have left.” (Taichi on the general atmosphere when they arrive at the military facility)

“As these rocks stay steady through season changes and time, so I will remain steady. I will not be silent. I will not let this go.” (Evalina)

“Change is a gradual thing. We have to chip away at the heart-heartedness of others and ourselves. We have to gradually open eyes, not just grab eyelids and yank them open.” (advice to Evalina)

“You have always excelled at fighting for others. But if you want to have the strength to continue to do so, you must value yourself enough to fight your own battles too.” (advice to Evalina)

If I were to voice just one complaint it would be that the story seemed to wrap up a little quickly, but even so, this is a story that will stay with me for some time.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
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This book made me angry and sad while giving me hope that American's can be better and do better!
I loved both Evalina and Taichi. I related to Evalina. In fact her being an Italian-American teenager is one of the things that drew me to the story, because I am also Italian-American. Her fiery, spunky personality is one of my favorite type of female character. I loved that she was a political science major, and one that went against the grain of political correctness and fought for the injustice done to Japanese-Americans. 

Taichi was the sweetest. He has integrity, courage, and a heart for others. His care and concern for not only Evalina, and his family; but everyone at the camp, other families that rode the same bus to the Manzanar. There wasn't anyone he wouldn't help. 

The story of these two young adults was raw, gritty, real, inspiring, and one I won't forget anytime soon. It depicts a horrible time in American history. One that I don't believe is talked about or even taught much. I don't remember learning much about this period of time in American history class. This is just one of many reasons I love historical fiction. No history class can teach us everything about each time period and historical fiction gives us a great story and a more personal view of history than any text book.

I highly recommend this book! I had a great opportunity to talk about this book with our server at a restaurant tonight and she was so interested in it she said she was going to get a copy!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in association with Just Read Publicity Tours. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Haunting and evocative, Within These Lines tells the story of a young American couple separated by war and racism.

Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki's lives are changed forever with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Taichi and his family are sent away to Manzanar Internment Camp for the duration of the war, while Evalina must remain. Their love for each other is tested by distance, time, and the experiences that they each face.

Evalina is passionate and courageous, she doesn't back down when it comes to fighting for the one that she loves. Evalina is definitely determined, and when she sets her mind to something, it usually comes to pass. I admired how she didn't give up, through it all she put her head down and kept going.

Taichi has always been his family's "Good Boy" a good student and athlete, he works hard alongside his family on their farm. When he and his family are sent away to Manzanar he questions what his future will hold, and if he can ever overcome the things that he cannot change. Taichi isn't a complainer, but as unrest grows in the camp he must decide where his loyalties lie, and can he stand with a country that won't stand with him? I admired Taichi for his often quiet strength, his protectiveness and stubborn streak. 

Overall, a compelling glimpse into the impact of the Japanese internment, and how it affected those within and out. A chilling read, that captures the raw emotion of the injustices suffered by many Japanese-Americans. I liked how it showed how we can love a country and not agree with everything it does, and deals with a difficult time in history. This not a popular subject matter, and I thought that the author did an excellent job of showing the varying sentiments within Manzanar and how people dealt with the internment differently. The camp is brought to life in stark, jarring detail, with only flashes of life outside brought to Taichi through letters. I liked how in the impact of the war is shown through Evalina and Taichi's peers, and the choices they make as well. This is a story that quietly grabbed me and didn't let me go till the last page, compelling, haunting, and thought-provoking, a worthy read that you won't want to miss.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and testimonials in Advertising."
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Within These Lines is a historical book that stole my heart. Historical is a genre that I don't read so much of, but this cover drew me in. I was quite surprised at how much the author made me feel. From happiness to tears. I enjoyed this book!

We start off by getting to know our two main characters, Evalina and Taichi. We learn about there world in 1941 (World War II) about how Pearl Harbor has affected the US. Evalina is an Italian-American while Taichi is the son of Japanese immigrants. 

Evalina is a strong female character. She's passionate and loyal. We get to see her life as not only an Italian-American but in love with someone whom most people are looking down on, saying that he and his family aren't Americans and should be here. But that's just the start when he gets sent off to Manzanar Relocation Center (one of ten American concentration camps.) I never learned about this while in school it was until I was out of school when I learned about it., so to get to read about that and see what life was like for them brock my heart. Taichi is a sweet and caring character, to read about what he went through, and how much he loves is inspiring. 

All in all, this has been my favorite read so far this year. Within These Lines is filled with the heart of these characters, but the sorrow of our history.
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4.5 Stars

There is a shadow over America’s involvement in World War II that’s often skipped over or brushed aside, and Stephanie Morrill wades into the waters of America’s distrust of, prejudice toward, and mistreatment of Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

This book is powerful with its depictions of the conditions and atmosphere of the internment camp at Manzanar. Morrill paints a vivid picture of life inside the camp without getting too graphic for a younger audience.

And her characters are wonderful. Evalina is a fiery young lady who voices the truths she’s seen with her own eyes and defends the unpopular opinion no matter the pushback she receives. Taichi is a quiet sort of hero who does his best to support his friends and family in Manzanar while guarding those he loves outside from the truth of his experiences. Both of these characters, so different, yet somehow perfect for each other, will stick with me for a long time as will many of the supporting cast—James, Diego, and Aiko each added to round out this story.

Within These Lines acts as both a reminder of some forgotten/glossed over history and a caution to judge an entire people group by the acts of a few. It’s a difficult, yet sweet, coming-of-age story where young love weathers impossible odds.

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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What I liked:

First of all I really liked the fact that the author tried to respect the history as much as possible. She also added at the end of her book some facts about what happened to the Japanese American after Pearl Harbor, which I found pretty helpful as we've never covered these things in our History classes back in Secondary school. So I might have learned something new. It is important history, which makes this book also very important even if it's „only“ a work of fiction with fictional charactes. But still. I hope that we learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and never do awful things like sending people to concentration camps or whatever again. I really hope that we or let's say our leaders learned their lesson! 

I knew before reading that this book would also be in the romance genre as the synopsis already states that and honestly the romance in here was amazing. It didn't feel forced and all the things our two main characters had to get through during their relationship was, if I can be honest, heartbreaking! I nearly cried during some of the scenes. I can't even imagine what both of them had to feel. And we're talking about fictional characters so imagine what the real people who where in that situation had to feel and endure. 

Another great thing (everything was great! Just saying) was the friendships in this book. The support of the friends or family wasn't always super duper great but their concern was genuine. They were never against the relationship but I could understand their fears and after their "accepting" they tried to support Evalina as best as they could and that is what friendship really means. Being there for the person as best as you can. It was really great. 
And last but not least Stephanie Morrill I loved your writing style and I will definitely read your other books as well. It was fluid, fast-paced, nothing complicated to understand. The writing style was PERFECT!!! Within these lines is now one of my favourite books of 2019!

What I didn't like
Absolutely nothing!
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w o w what a beautiful piece of historical fiction! I had been looking forward to reading some of Mrs. Morrill’s books lately and I’m so glad to say that Within These Lines did not disappoint!

I’ve never been one to read and really enjoy historical fiction, but I loved this book – it honestly inspired me to research more about 1940s and read more books set in that timeframe. Within These Lines deals with many things, but mainly daily life in internment camps. This is one of the only times I’ve seen books approach this topic so closely and so raw and near to the matter, and I love that the book wasn’t shrouded in depression and darkness, but rather in hope – even though the situation was full of despair.

This will be an unpopular opinion, but the characters missed the mark for me. I loved reading about Evalina and Taichi and their families – I really did, but I feel like I was in it more for what happened + learning more about the internment camps than for the characters. I really admire Evalina’s courage and fiery passion though, and I love Taichi’s positive attitude. It really inspired me. My favorite character was probably Aiko, though. I love her snarkiness and sarcasm and general character – she really added life and flavor to the story and I loved it whenever she made an appearance. 😉

Overall, A+ for the historical-ness of this book! I loved getting a glimpse into the internment camp, and I think most people would really benefit from reading this book. I adored reading Mrs. Morrill’s fluid and engaging writing style as well. 4 stars.
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World War II stories are some of my favorite things to read, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I jumped at the chance to review Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill. It's the story of two teenagers torn apart by the decision of the American government to force Americans of Japanese descent into internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It's a poignant story that deals with some extremely sensitive issues, and I'm so glad I took the time to read it.Evalina's life is as close to perfect as anyone's could possibly be. Her family is close, she's doing well in school, and even though she's recently broken up with her boyfriend, Evalina's pretty sure she'll find someone she's more compatible with before too much time passes. She's heard stories of the war raging overseas, but the terrors of war haven't really touched her life.Taichi is the son of Japanese immigrants. His father is a farmer who delivers produce to the restaurant owned by Evalina's family, and although he’s seen Evalina from a distance, the two of them have never spoken until Taichi accompanies his father on a delivery one afternoon and they happen to strike up a conversation. From that moment on, they're drawn to one another in ways neither fully understands.Taichi and Evalina begin spending time together in secret. Interracial marriage is illegal in California, but as their relationship blossoms into something neither can imagine living without, they become ever more determined to find a way to be together. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked, and Japanese immigrants are forced into internment camps, their love is threatened by forces stronger than either of them could have imagined.The story is told in alternating chapters, allowing the reader to see things from both Evalina's and Taichi's perspectives. I was particularly drawn to the chapters from Taichi's point of view, as they gave me a glimpse into a part of American history I don't know very much about. Life in the internment camp was far from easy, and Ms. Morrill does a great job bringing it to life through Taichi's eyes. I enjoyed Evalina’s chapters too, but her story wasn't quite as compelling. She's desperate to remain connected to Taichi despite the physical distance between them. She struggles with the racism her friends and family exhibit on an almost constant basis, and I really loved how dedicated she was to helping people see the errors in their thinking. It would have been much easier for her to sit down and shut up the way her parents want her to, but she doesn't give into social pressure.Within These Lines is not at all an easy read, but it is an extremely important one. The novel contains some disturbing scenes of racial violence that might be distressing to some readers, but these are things we all need to be more aware of. The descriptions are pretty graphic, but I didn't find them to be at all gratuitous.Evalina and Taichi have a beautiful relationship; there was something so magical about watching them fall in love. There are a ton of obstacles standing in the way of their HEA, but I was confident these two smart, resourceful, compassionate people would find a way to make things work out in their favor.My one quibble with the book is the rather rushed nature of the ending. The rest of the novel was perfectly paced, but it almost felt like Ms Morrill ran out of steam when she got close to finishing the story. It's not that the ending is unrealistic, but I found it difficult to wrap my head around how quickly the issues in the couple's way were resolved. In spite of this, I'm eager for the world to embrace Evalina's and Taichi's story. Its beauty and power are a testament to what true love looks like, even in the darkest of times.Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/KoboVisit our Amazon Storefront
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From the very start, I knew that "Within These Lines" was going to be good. Love is difficult enough as it is, but these (incredible) characters also had to fight through the hatred of society and the pain of war. The plot was strong and kept me hooked. The 1940s setting was vivid and the characters were lovable in so many ways. With truth and wisdom weaved throughout, Morrill tells a story that shows us how to fight for love.

Morrill’s book was touching, but it was educating, too. I’ve never had historical fiction teach me so much and make me want to learn more about the subject. Simply put, the content of this book is important. Topics like these (interracial love, the darker side of American history, race, etc.) deserve to be covered more often with the care and respect Morrill used when writing this book. 

I’m so glad that I was able to read this novel through a review copy, and I’m excited for the rest of the world to get to read it, too! I would absolutely recommend "Within These Lines" to anyone interested in romance, YA, and/or historical fiction.
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I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I fell in love with it from page one. This book broke and repaired my heart only to then break it again moments late. It’s a beautiful and moving piece of fiction by Stephanie Morrill. I have to say that I simply adore how this book not only navigated a beautiful, precious and tedious relationship between an Italian-American girl and Japanese-American boy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. A time when racism and injustice against the Japanese living in America occurred. I just loved this story of Evalina and Taichi. Two young people in love in a time where it was illegal in most states for them to be married, a time where they were both at risk because of their relationship but still they pushed through.I was rooting for them the whole book! Just couldn’t put it down because I NEEDED to know what happened next .

Looking at the characters I loved Evalina’s heart and passion in this story. Her heart for the injustice inflicted on many people. Her heart for the one she loved and the passion she put into raising awareness for what was going on that so many people were blinded to. Seeing this passion and this heart in Evalina, I found that I related to her very much in that sense as I saw myself in her.

This book is an absolutely amazing piece of fiction you should not skip out on getting for yourself.
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It's probably no secret that I love Stephanie Morrill's storytelling. Her characters always have this deep core of integrity and courage, and yet they're relatable and funny. WITHIN THESE LINES has all the thing I love about her other books, and it focuses on a historical moment that we need to remember.

WITHIN THESE LINES isn't the first book about the Japanese internment camps that I've read before, but it's the first one I've seen where the political atmosphere around the camps is so overtly described. I loved that the story followed Taichi's perspective as a Japanese American and a prisoner of the Manzanar camp. But I thought it was also cool to show how difficult it would be to speak out against the camps, and to love across racial lines at a time when not only was it viewed as wrong, but was illegal. It's easy for us to look back at history and say, "I would never have stood by silently while that happened. I totally would have spoken out." WITHIN THESE LINES gives us a chance to walk in those shoes and see how difficult that might have been. (Obviously Evalina's experience was nothing compared to Taichi's.)

In terms of the characters, I loved both Evalina and Taichi. I spent a couple of months in Tokyo a few years ago, and some of the language and the way Taichi relates to his family and camp members made me think back to that trip and really miss it. I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but there were a lot of references to and snapshot moments of Japanese language and culture throughout WITHIN THESE LINES. Taichi's sister was probably my favorite character. She added a lot to the story with her fierceness and strong emotions.

At its core, WITHIN THESE LINES is a love story. If you love forbidden romance and/or liked Morrill's other historical novel, THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET, then you definitely want to check this one out. (Also, if you haven't read LOST GIRL, go check it out!)
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Wow, this book.

It's hard to put my thoughts into words. This book is one of those books that you finish and kind of sit back and think "wow." It's one of those books that you can't stop thinking about days, weeks, even months after reading. It's one of those books that sticks with you for a very long time to come.

Within These Lines tells the story of a young Italian-American woman named Evalina Cassano who falls in love with a Japanese-American, Taichi Hamasaki. Set in the 1940's, the two are facing a lot when they begin seeing each other. But that doesn't stop them, not even when the "evacuation" of the Japanese-Americans places miles between the two of them.

This book is a wealth of important historical information. I had no idea about many of the things that took place in this book. I had a vague knowledge of the fact that some sort of Japanese-American concentration camps existed, but that was the extent of my knowledge. This book was an incredible eye opener to me. It's a book that everyone should read, especially Americans, as it's a very important, and often overlooked, piece of our country's history. 

I think my favorite aspect of this book was Evalina. She was everything I would want to be, should a situation like this arise in my life. She was there for Taichi every step of the way, and she did so many things that I would never in a million dreams find the courage to do. Maybe, if we read enough books with characters like Evalina, we'll find ourselves getting a little bolder and braver as a result. No harm in trying, right? 

Stephanie Morrill does a phenomenal job of putting us in the time period and making us fall in love with these characters as they fall in love with each other. It's a sad book, yes, but it's also beautiful. I definitely recommend it to YA readers. This is a story you'll walk away from thinking about for a long time to come. 

I can't wait for Stephanie's next amazing historical novel!
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Stephanie Morrill has written a novel based on real life events that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. This well-researched book confronts the hidden atrocities that Japanese-Americans faced during WWII. While media and politicians were assuring the nation that the Japanese-Americans were being evacuated to internment camps for their own safety, we learn the truth about the sometimes abhorrent conditions in which they were forced to live. 

The story centers around Evalina, a young Italian-American, and her secret relationship with Taichi, a young Japanese-American who is forced to leave his home and live in the compound at Manzanar, California.  Evalina is a very strong-willed, outspoken young woman and we experience her journey as she seeks to claim Taichi and his family’s freedom. Taichi is fearful of the effects of an interracial marriage and does his best to try to protect her as best he can.

I found this book very thought-provoking and heart-wrenching at times, but a book I would highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blink YA Books through Net Galley and was under no obligation to post a positive review.
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Within These Lines
by Stephanie Morrill


Historical Fiction , Teens & YA

Pub Date 05 Mar 2019

I am reviewing a copy of Within These Lines through Blink and Netgalley:

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian American family in 1941 San Francisco is quiet and ordinary that is until she falls in love with a man named Taichi Hamaski, Who is the son of Japanese immigrants. They fall in love despite the scandal it would cause or that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow to be together. After the attack on Pearl Harbor Anti-Japanese feelings errupt all over the United States, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move into a Japanese interment camp.

Life is difficult at Manzanar Relocation Center is difficult due to degrading treatment. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world is the letters he gets from Evalina. Evalina feels the only action she can take us to speak out against the injustices. She becomes more and more vocal at home and at school. Inside Manzanar fighting between different Japanese American factions arises. Leaving Taichi to worry that he may not leave the camp alive.

As tensions are running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold on to their ideals and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against all odds.

I give Within These Lines five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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I like learning history through historical fiction. Stephanie Morrill has written a well-researched novel about a difficult time in our country’s history. There are many incidences in American history that make we wonder what people were thinking – the internment of Japanese Americans is one of those incidences. Within These Lines uses dual narrators to tell the story – Evalina, an Italian-American, and Taichi, her Japanese-American boyfriend. The story has so many levels – a bi-racial relationship at a time when it was unacceptable, the internment of American citizens because of their heritage, the hatred of many in Anglo society, and the sending off of young people to war from which they might not return. At times the novel seems to have almost too much going on but that is the way the world was during this tumultuous time.

Taichi and his family are sent to the internment camp at Manzanar. Stephanie Morrill weaves the story of Manzanar into the narrative – the Japanese immigrants who fought for the United States during WWI yet were sent to the camps, the Japanese Americans who had been sent back to Japan for education and thus indoctrinated with Japanese imperialistic beliefs. Both of these groups were angry and did not trust the Japanese Americans who were loyal to the United States government. Riots and strikes really happened and Stephanie Morrill includes them. I appreciated her inclusion of historical details at the end of the story.

Evalina’s personality is such that she speaks out for injustices. It is no surprise that she goes to the University to study political science with an eye toward becoming a lawyer. Yet, at that time, that was not a field women entered. So, she dealt with prejudices of her own. Some were also prejudice against her because she was outspoken about the treatment of Japanese American who are American citizens.

I will not hesitate to add this book to our school library. Within These Lines is appropriate for middle school and up. Stories like this need to be written so that we never forget!

Thank you to Just Read Tours and Stephanie Morrill for my review copy.
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I read a fair amount of historical fiction, but this was my first YA in this genre.  It was a solid read including love, adversity and events from our history that need to be shared. I found this story of young love was both enjoyable but frustrating at times.  Let me be clear that the frustration was in no way the author’s fault, but the fault of historical events that this story is based around.  I am glad to have come across this book and to have learned more about these events in our history.  I hope that my girls will read this one some day - when they become a bit more grown up and interested in love stories.  It's a very clean story, so there is no reason they couldn't read it now, but at ages 11 and 13 they just aren't into any kind of love stories just yet.
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