The War Outside by Monica Hesse | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up–Crystal City, TX, 1944. Haruko and her family are reunited with her father at an internment camp. Crystal City is unique for having both German and Japanese families.

HESSE, Monica. The War Outside. 336p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316316699.

Gr 9 Up–Crystal City, TX, 1944. Haruko and her family are reunited with her father at an internment camp. Crystal City is unique for having both German and Japanese families. While trying to adjust to her new home, Haruko is drawn to Margot, the only German girl attending her high school. Despite their many differences, they are united by one shared experience: the camp is ruining both of their families. Haruko worries about her soldier brother and distrusts her father. Margot is concerned about her mother’s ailing health and her father’s growing alliance with Nazi supporters. As their secret friendship becomes more intense and tension rises among the camp prisoners, they must determine if they can trust anyone—even each other. The author of Girl in the Blue Coat returns with another superb historical fiction novel for YA collections. Hesse deftly balances actual events from Crystal City with a resonating fictional story of forbidden friendship and love. By switching between Haruko’s and Margot’s narratives, and even including brief flash-forwards from both characters, Hesse weaves an engaging mystery. VERDICT A satisfying and bittersweet novel, perfect for those who enjoyed Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief or Sherri L. Smith’s Flygirl.Kaetlyn Phillips, Yorkton, Sask.

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2018 issue.

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