ARC Review: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Within These Lines

Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Blink
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

About The Author

Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. To learn more, see my interview with her.

Summary

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.

Review

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. Both 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. Within These Lines is written for young adult readers, but I think this book will also appeal to adult readers that enjoy historical fiction.

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.

If You Like

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.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read The Lost Girl of Astor Street? Are you planning on reading Within These Lines? What are your thoughts on WWII fiction?

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