Cover Image: Within These Lines

Within These Lines

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Member Reviews

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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I had no idea what happened to the Japanese Americans during WWII. No idea what pain and torture that they endured. Whenever I thought of WWII, I would think of the Jewish concentration camps and what horrors the Germans inflicted upon the Jews. After reading Stephanie's book, that's not going to be the only thing I think of. What a heartbreaking story.
We'll start with what I really enjoyed. Stephanie did such a wonderful job researching this book, I felt like. I've really loved her previous historical fiction as The Last Girl of Astor Street felt like I was right there in the 1920s. This book's settings and descriptions did not disappoint. From the market to the Italian restaurant to Manzanar, Stephanie had such vivid descriptions and characters that felt like they belonged in the world that it made me feel like I was right there with them watching the story unfold! 
I was a little frustrated with the characters at time, though. Being of Italian descent myself, I really really wanted to love Evalina's character. I felt myself more upset with her than anything. Her emotions were constantly very strong, whether it was being angry toward someone and lashing out or sobbing. Her near constant strong emotions made it very hard for me to connect with her, and I found myself looking forward to Taichi's POV so I wouldn't have to read about Evalina lashing out at so many people so often. I liked that she was spirited and willing to speak up for what she believed was right, but I felt that her speaking up was more always yelling at people rather than, as Grace mentioned in the book, speaking softly but powerfully. I would've appreciated Evalina coming to learn that it is best to speak softly and powerfully than force your words and ideas onto other people.
I did really enjoy Taichi's POV, though. He wrestled with his emotions in a realistic manner that I was able to relate to and understand. I wish the ended would've been expounded upon a little more with him, though. The point where he went from breaking up with Evalina for her safety to deciding to fight with her seemed a little jumped over. I would've loved to delve more into his thoughts and feelings of making that decision to decide to fight for her.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and am very happy to have received an ARC of the story! It was a great read, and I really enjoyed learning more about the history of Japanese Americans in America during WWII as I knew nothing about the subject!
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This was a very good read concerning the internment camps of WWII. It’s a subject that I haven’t read much on, but lately have been getting the opportunity to.

I really enjoyed Evalina’s character. She was fiery, and wasn’t about to put up with people’s racist and bigoted views. She believed in something, and wasn’t going to let anything stop her from containing to believe in it and try to change other people’s minds. You could feel her struggle and conflict as she tried to deal with people who supported the government’s actions, and who hated the Japanese over the events at Pearl Harbor. Her whole character was very well done, and was easy to connect with.

Taichi was a great character as well. He was also easy to connect with; you could understand his frustrations about being moved from his home into a camp, and his struggles with loving Evalina but not wanting to put her through the misery of it all.

My only real conflict with this book was the style of how major events were portrayed. There were several times when something was about to happen, and then the story would move to the other characters perspective on a totally different event, and you would learn what happened with the event later. It was a little frustrating because it felt like some things were glossed over. You still know what happens; I just felt like it would have flowed a little better if events had just been played out at once instead of skipping past it. The end also felt a little rushed. I would have liked a little more information on what happened to Taichi after his release from Manzanar. There are events that are alluded to, but the book skips ahead several years into the future without much explanation. 

Besides those two points, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in WWII fiction.
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Within These Lines peers past the popularized views of post-Pearl Harbor U.S.A. to the injustices that were happening even on American soil. It explores how it might have felt to be part of the evacuation of the Japanese-Americans and what those who loved them experienced.
This young adult novel is well-written and clearly well-researched. It truly felt like I was stepping back in time, though there were times when I wanted to pull back from the harsh realities of what these people experienced.
I loved how passionate a character Evalina was. She was stubborn enough to stand for the truth and speak up for those who had lost their voice. Taichi’s point of view was my favorite, and Stephanie did a great job with his growth as a character.
The faith element of this book is pretty minor, with characters mentioning praying, but not much else.
If you enjoy well-written historical fiction that doesn’t pull any punches, then Within These Lines just might be the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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This was such a good book! I loved both of the protagonists, and only wish I could've seen more of them (especially together). 

-Characters. Love these precious cinnamon rolls. 'Nuff said.
-Time period--I don't know a lot about what went on at home during WWII, so I appreciated this alternative look at this difficult time in history.
-All the emotion. Normally, I'm not a fan of strong emotion, but this book did it just right. Loved it.

-I really wanted to see the story of how Taichi and Evalina fell in love in the first place. We only saw snatches of it in flashbacks, which made me sad. In other words, more Evalina and Taichi!!!
-The plot wasn't what I was expecting (but this could just be because I'm not super familiar with the genre.) I kept looking for a clear rising action, climax, and falling action, but it wasn't as clean cut as I expected.
-The ending felt a wee bit rushed (not enough winding down from such a build-up). Also, I would've liked to see more of what happened between the ending and the epilogue.  GIVE ME MORE TAICHI AND EVALINA. Ahem...please?

4.5 stars! Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Content warnings: 
Sexual: light kisses, not described. One character has a miscarriage out of wedlock before the story, and it is mentioned a few times. 
Language: Racial slurs are used against characters of Japanese descent.
Violence: The Japanese Americans are often targets of attacks--both from Caucasians and Japanese loyalists. Several violent incidents occur on page, but none are graphic.

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I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This book was an amazingly beautiful and well written story. It tells the tale of love and war and it may be historical fiction, but definitely something that happened to many real people out there. I found it heart warming and touching on so many levels. You will not be disappointed in this eye opener! I was pleasantly surprised!
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Solid 4.5 STARS!

In my opinion the best and most satisfying read is a great historical fiction novel.  This one captured my heart and exceeded my expectations.  There were excellent details, it was authentic and had a fantastic back story.

WWII was a very difficult period in the history of the USA, a time that many young people are unaware of and still others that were unaffected forgot.  This is the second book I’ve recently read about the US internment camps at Manzanar and other locations like Tanforan in San Francisco during WWII.  The internment camp conditions depicted were moderate compared to the last book I read(Daughter of Molokai).   I think the author painted the camps to get a harsh point across but spared the readers the distress of the cruelty and horrific conditions that really existed.  

The book is told in alternating chapters by Evalina an Italian immigrant and her Japanese friend/boyfriend Taichi who is evacuated along with his farming family to internment camps.  At a time when interracial marriages and relationships were unacceptable and in many states outlawed, Evalina is committed to her future with Taichi and holds onto the idea that love will overcome prejudice.  Evalina stands up for injustices and does what she can to support Taichi during his time away.  My heart broke for the pair because at the time, they couldn’t even share the feelings they had for each other with their parents without repercussions.  They endured these horrific events with only one or two confidants to console and reassure them.  

Although there’s a love interest, this book is more educational than love story and packed full of strong supportive characters.  The writing is terrific and the story moved quickly.  Thanks to the author for sharing additional book references at the end, I have added several to my TBR list.

Many thanks to Netgalley, Blink and Stephanie Morrill for an advanced copy of this wonderful book.
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What an important story to tell! So many people have no idea what happened to Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent war. The tough parts of history must be taught to the next generation, sometimes through stories such a these, so we/they do not make the same mistakes.
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A whole new take on WWII and the those who fighting for their rights and freedoms.  Full of emotion and truths, the story of the Japanese American people who were treated as improperly in their own country.  Can family and love survive such difficult times?  I highly recommend you read this book to find out!!
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Within These Lines tells the story of Taichi and Evalina, a Japanese American citizen and an Italian American Citizen who fall in love right at the onset of WWII. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Taichi gets sent away to a concentration camp for Japanese Americans and both Taichi and Evalina must struggle to keep their forbidden (or at least strongly looked down upon) love alive.

Taichi does his best to shield Evalina from the troubles and hardships he faces at the camp and Evalina does her best to stand up for her belief that just because Japanese Americans look different and hail from a different country, they are just as equal and valuable as any other American citizen.

This is a great story, based in real history, about love, equality, and just how our country has made mistakes in our past. For lovers of historical fiction, this one is for you!
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I am going to buck the trend and say that this book was too much of a buildup with too little of an ending. 
I really liked the concept of an interracial couple dealing with the Japanese Internment of the United States.
The beginning took so long to actually figure out that the main characters were dating/in love. 
Then the author spent way too much time covering the baseball games in the camps.
The ending came and it was too rushed. 
Not enough of an epilogue to figure out how the main characters made their relationship work, how Tai went to war, etc.
Overall a very disappointing book that had great potential.
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Within These Lines is a heartfelt historical fiction story taking place months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I have never read a fictional account of the U.S. internment camps for Japanese Americans during this time period, and the story was thought provoking. The common themes throughout this book include romance, family, perseverance, and courage. It is a story that imprinted itself upon me and that my mind kept returning to long after completion. I highly recommend this to anyone with a love of well written literature and historical fiction. This book is a treasure.
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This story is a very important one. It tells of something that happened in the United Stares than many people aren’t even aware happened. It is important this information not only gets into the world, but that a book for a YA audience helps ensure that the next generation has this knowledge and the truth of what went on not only overseas during WWII, but right here in the US. It is often easy to forget tho gs that we don’t find self-serving or that make us look bad. Such is true about things for countries. It is why it is so easy to forget the advice of Churchill and to not forget our history, but to learn from it. History seems so far away, so unfathomable that we let it slip our minds in order to look to a brighter future. But forgetting means that there is no promise of brighter days for the future, it means we don’t have the knowledge and information we need to create a true sense of empathy for others, forgetting means we somehow escape the shame of our actions and without that shame, we cannot prevent ourselves from doing the same things, or worse. Each generation faces hard decisions and hard times and without our history to guide us, we are led to the wrong choices or we let our emotions from our past mistakes guide us to overcorrecting at the sacrifice of national stability, or not enough action as to not offend, which leaves us open to havoc. There is a line as thin as a strand of hair and as sharp as a knife that we as people of such a great nation must learn to walk in order to not shy away from ALL of our history in order to stay the nation we like to boast about and pride ourselves on being. Fear changes a lot of things for a lot of people. As part of the greatest nation on earth, we must remember what our fear has allowed us to become in the past, how we hurt not only the Japanese, but all of our people by acting out of that fear instead of a place of empathy and standing UNITED. We cannot fail bc of fear. We must always remember, never let the next generation forget or go unaware so that we can stay a great nation for all who call America home!
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I've only read one fiction book that dealt with the Japanese internment camps and that was Tallgrass but it only gave the view point of a white girl nothing really to do with Japanese-Americans in those camps.
This book in my opinion gave more insight and information about how they were treated during a very dark period of time. Taishi and Evalina story was very believable with the both of their struggles they faced.
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This is one of those stories that will stick with you long after you finish it. I'm drawn to historic literature during WWII and I loved how this novel focused on the American half instead of the European portion. This is the second book I know of that describes the aftermath of Pearl Harbor when the Japanese living on the West Coast were rounded up and forced to live in camps scattered across the West. The camps had horrible living conditions, food shortages, running water issues, and cramped "rooms" presented as houses, not to mention rivalries between those loyal to America and those switching to support Japan. We can look back on how the Nazis treated those of inferior status and be sickened, but yet the same thing (to a different degree since the US wasn't exterminating the Japanese) happened here in America due to mass panic, racism, and judgement.

Evalina was a star of a character. She wasn't afraid to support everything she loved, even if her views were in the minority. She was dedicated to Taichi from the start and refused to care how others viewed them. Taichi's character struggled a lot as he had his fate torn away from him and he questioned the future from the dusty atmosphere of Manzanar. Gia was self-centered and annoying since she only cared about boys and wasn't a good friend to Evalina and I was happy when she disappeared after the 50% mark. Taichi's sister Aiko was a warrior from the beginning; almost like the Japanese version of Evalina with her sarcasm and inability to keep her mouth shut around injustices. She also wasn't afraid to shine.

Stephanie's works are always beautiful to read, but Within These Lines is my favorite and packs a more powerful message on courage, racism, doing the right thing, and undoubtedly, love.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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When my teens are looking for another great historical fiction on par with Between Shades of Gray I will have  new story to hand to them! 

A beautiful love story set during the Japanese evacuation during WWII.  I was skeptical that I would like this book as much as I did because one of my favorite books is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Could this really be as good? Well I'd say it was pretty darn close. It wasn't really all that different from that story but possibly it would be a more approachable story for teens since the main characters are young adults. (Also, the romance is very sweet  and is appropriate for 7th grade &up). 

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for this advanced reader. I didn't want this gripping story to end.  I think my teens will love this book as much as I did and I can't wait to have it in our stacks!
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I practically inhaled this book. Taichi and Evalina are two beautifully fluid characters that both narrate the story amazingly. Their personalities are so different, yet their chemistry is undeniable (despite them actually being together only seen for a short time). It focuses on love, loss, hate, war, heartbreak, sacrifice and so many more emotions. 

Something I loved was the historical aspect, teaching me so much more of the discrimination and hatred that was targeted at Japanese Americans in WW2. 

I would highly recommend this book that deals with so much love and hate. Thank you.
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Within these Lines tells a story of two young people Taichi and Evaline both swept in a war that hits closer to home then they expect. With Taichi and his family along with thousands of other Japanese Americans being sent to interment camps burning the majority of the war. Both of them most learn to deal with the injustice and cruelty that was brought on by the Pearl Harbor attacks in December 1942. 

This story was one of the many facts that came out of World War Two. With the world living in fear and mistrust, rumors turn into misguided anger. It was a very true and horrible occurrence that this happen in the first place. This book really brought of that and I learned tons of other facts that I never new prior to reading it. It was an fantastic read and I loved the story and it’s a book that everyone definitely needs to consider reading.
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Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Evalina Cassano lives happily with her family in San Francisco until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Taichi and his family are forced to move to the Manzanar internment camp. 

Evalina feels she must help Taichi and speaks out more and more against the racism and Japanese internment at home and school.  When Japanese-Americans begin taking sides within the Manzanar camp, Taichi is caught in between and begins to doubt he and his family will stay safe and leave the camp alive. Evalina and Taichi must find a way to stand strong and make it back to each other. 

Evalina is an articulate, tenacious girl, much like Piper from the author’s last book. She is angry and confused at the injustice done to her friends and neighbors. She sees the people behind the politics, and is brave enough to speak about what she believes. 

Taichi didn’t captivate me at first. For the first third or half of the book, he felt like a sort of bland character. However, later in the book, he really began to develop as a character. He cared about his family and about Evalina, and having his perspective made the book much more real and poignant. 

I particularly appreciated the family relationships that were highlighted in this book. Taichi obviously cares very much about his family, and reading about his interactions with his sister was quite enjoyable. Evalina had a little bit more tension in her family relationships. She wasn’t sure if her Italian-American parents would approve of her relationship with Taichi, and tried to keep it a secret. 

Stephanie Morrill did a wonderful job writing the point of view switches between Evalina and Taichi were very well done. Each had a unique voice and perspective, and tied together very well. I love reading books where the characters have different voices and unique backgrounds, but the overall tone and voice of the book is still regular. 

The time period this book was set in, World War II, was a very turbulent and tense time. Within These Lines addresses difficult issues of injustice, racism, and internment camps in a sensitive yet honest way.  

Overall, this book had beautiful writing, well-developed characters, a wonderful ending, and deftly handles some difficult topics. I’m not going to give away spoilers, but I will say that towards the finish both Evalina and Taichi had a lot at stake, and the ending was satisfying but a little bit surprising. It is written for young adult readers, but I think this book may also appeal to adult readers. 

I received a complimentary copy of Within These Lines for review from Blink through Netgalley. This did not impact my review in any way and all opinions expressed are my own. This review is being published on my blog on January 25. 

I would recommend this book to fans of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, and Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan. 

-Grace @ This Stack of Books
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