Overall, this book gets 3 of 5 stars. It wasn’t bad, and more enjoyable than I originally anticipated.
The story is historical fiction, and a love story at that. I enjoyed that the plot took place in a period of history that I have a cursory familiarity with, but not an extensive knowledge of – the Japanese internment during WWII. Additionally, the characters in the story were of cultures I am not intimately familiar with – Japanese and Chinese Americans. As a result, it was a refreshing change of pace from my normal comfort zone.
The entire story was well-written and an easy read. The characters were flawed, and easy to relate to. However, during the second half of the book, I felt there were several missed climactic opportunities. While there were some truly heart-wrenching moments – I felt they could’ve been more deeply explored, and likely more realistic.
Though, I must remember that this book was a target for a much younger audience – young teens, and the level of emotional depth I craved from the story would perhaps be inappropriate for that audience. I am sure that the reality of this love story – a young Chinese boy and a young Japanese girl in Seattle in 1942, ripped apart by the fear and prejudice of this war-riddled government – would have likely been much more dramatic than the book let on. Not that there wasn’t drama and intrigue and triumph, but it could have been much deeper.
Overall, I’d recommend it to a younger reader. And I will give Ford accolades for excellent character development. Each character in the story felt real, you liked them, you hated them, they all had their moments. It was the plot itself that seemed a bit shallow.
Happy reading, folks!