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A novel of conviction friendship and betrayalIt's 1944 and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado until they were uprooted to dusty Texas all because of the places their parents once called home Germany and JapanHaruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City a family internment camp for those accused of colluding with the enemy The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways except for one that seems to override all the others the camp is changing them day by day and piece by piece Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father who she knows is keeping something from her And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with NazisWith everything around them falling apart Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing secret friendship But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies can they trust anyone even each other?

10 thoughts on “The War Outside

  1. says:

    I received an ARC of this book for free from TheNovl in exchange for an honest review Since I received an ARC my uotes from the book are tentative Last month I read a different YA novel about German American internment and was beyond disappointed by it When I saw that TheNovl was offering a chance to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity Thankfully The War Outside was a million times better than that other book I readThis book was so heart wrenching and emotional There was one incident towards the end that gave me chills and goosebumps I loved the dual perspectives and how well the author put you into each girl’s shoes I also enjoyed the author’s writing style It flowed easily and sucked you into the story I’m glad that the book showed both Japanese American and German American internment I particularly liked that it discussed how being called the enemy was different for each group At one point Haruko tells Margot “I’m so sorrythat your father had to wake up and realize that you had become the enemy overnight But a least you didn’t have to wake up and realize that other Americans had thought of you as an enemy all along” 148 She then explains “the reason this imprisonment is hard to Margot’s father is because they didn’t know yet that this country was unfairThe West Coast Japanese had already given the government their shortwave radios and they had already agreed to their curfew eight PM to six AM but it wasn’t enough it was never enough It was so easy for the government make those rules You can’t hate someone all of a sudden It takes practice It takes a long time” 148 This is an idea that Margot revisits later in the book when imagining what it would be like to go back home to Iowa She ponders “Haruko was right the first time we talked It was not like with the Japanese where entire communities went away With us it was like a scalpel a German here a German there while the rest of the town went about their business” 207 These uotes showcase the idea of how we are not free in America until we’re all free Everyone’s freedom is in jeopardy if one group loses theirs The ending wasWOW It was one of the best endings I’ve read in a while It left you thinking about all that happened between the girls and the motives behind their actions I liked that the author included a note at the end about the history behind the story It is evident that she did a lot of research and tried to make it as accurate as possible Overall this was an amazing and powerful novel whose ending will leave you uestioning it all For book reviews be sure to check out my blog

  2. says:

    Just Another Book Bitch's ALWAYS SPOILER FREE REVIEW First things first I believe this is a book everyone should read and absorb I think it should be on every school reading list While it is fiction it's based on enough fact that will catapult the reader back in time to a horrific and in this reader's opinion an embarrassing time in US history where we made thousands upon thousands of Japanese Americans suffer for no other reason than racism A heartbreaking read that opens your eyes to the devastations of the past and what is happening in our present day America It's not about politics in this readers opinion its about people Human beings deserving compassion The War Outside follows the lives of Haruko and Margot Both uprooted from their homes and their lives and relocated to the Crystal City Internment Camp A strange and secret friendship bonds both girls together and will inevitably leave their lives changed forever Haruko a Japanese American from Colorado arrives in Crystal City with her sister and mother to join her father who has already been a resident for several months The family internment camp surrounded by its barbed wire fences and its armed military guards It's a prison not matter the dressing Devastated by her arrival Haruko will refuses to let it be anything than what it is “This is not a normal place This is not a normal time” Haruko Margot a German Amerian has been a resident of Crystal City for a while A loneroutsider that stays to herself For whatever reason she is drawn to Haruko An only child Margot and her mother joined her father at Crystal City early on She has watched the camp develop and grow Happy to be on the outside Until a secret friendship with Haruko A friendship that will teach her and US We are all capable of terrible when we're under horrible circumstances “In order to survive here you have to decide that you choose to be here You have to find a way to put Crystal City into a box instead of letting it box in you” Margot Beyond difficult to write a spoiler free review I have to ask youCan the human spirit remain the same when faced with such betrailDo the ends justify the means when horrible events begin an avalanche of events that no one can avoid Are we all capable horrible and irreversible choices when pushed against a wall? I believe this novel can speak to your soul if you let itThe War Outside is filled with a rollercoaster of emotion This novel highlights family friendship and importantly of understanding and basic humanity It's so much than a history lesson With the twists you don't see coming this novel and all the emotion it instills will keep you on your toes and unable to stop turning pages I highly recommend this book The complex characters the superb writing I'm surprised at how much I adore this novel I can tell you that it will forever hold a place in my heart This novel is not to be missed Thanks to thenovlcom for a paperback ARC and Monica Hesse for the opportunity to reviewThe War Outside becomes available to readers September 25thPURCHASE LINKS US UK CA

  3. says:

    i've decided to change my rating for this to a solid 3 stars the i think about this book the i realize how mediocre it was for me?? it didn't stick in my mind afterwards and i don't feel very strongly about it even about the things i thought i likedThe War Outside is a World War II era historical fiction novel that talks about the intersecting experiences of two girls whose families are being held in Crystal City an internment camp i did like the premise for the novel WW2 historical fiction tends to be my very favorite type of historical fiction and somehow i've never read a book about the experiences of those in an internment campthe execution of the book was the problem for me general theme for this review underdeveloped 🌿🌻 characters 🌻🌿the two main characters of the novel were Haruko a japanese girl and Margot a german girl i was super interested in Haruko's story in particular because of the Japanese repbuuut i didn't end up super loving or hating either character i mostly felt detached from both of them as well as the rest of the characters in the story the characterization wasn't the besti also didn't think the Asian rep was great i would have loved to hear about Haruko's family and experiences being Japanese before the internment camp during this period of American history something about the comparison of Haruko and Margot's marginalization also turned me off i don't remember the exact uote just that it made me uncomfortablethe one thing i really loved about the characters was their relationship with each other side note there is NO WAY IN HELL that was platonic or just a friendship IT WAS GAY PEOPLE GAAAYYYYY there was a simple beauty in the way that Margot and Haruko gradually became comfortable with each other and fell in love i just wish we could have seen development out of their relationshipor maybe a in depth exploration of their feelings for each other? the book just barely brushed against the idea of girls liking girls and i wish it had done with iton another note i DID NOT like how their short relationship was ended and view spoilerhow margot betrayed haruko by lying about Haruko's family it honestly felt out of character for margot and there was NO CLOSURE for either of them? UGH hide spoiler

  4. says:

    I loved the premise and parts of this novel felt all too relevant to our current politician climate you know since we’re once again holding families and children in camps in the US which isfucked up But The War Outside never went far enough for me So much of this stayed surface level and I wanted MORE I wanted of the budding romance between our two protagonists insight into daily life in the camp and of an actual plot so there was sufficient tension building to the big reveal which I honestly didn’t like that much Unfortunately this book just didn’t uite deliver for me but I still think it was an important story and I’m glad I read it

  5. says:

    I'm ashamed to say I had no clue about this dark piece of World War II history until I was around 22 years old  When we learned about WWII in school Japanese internment camps were never discussed in the text books or in the classroom  When I found out that over 100000 people of Japanese ancestry were taken from their homes and incarcerated under an executive order by President Franklin D Roosevelt I was stunned  There was a lot of paranoia about foreign spies who could interfere with the war effort within the US  This government paranoia caused panic and hysteria for citizens and they all somehow managed to justify this xenophobia by claiming that individuals of Japanese ancestry 62% of which were American citizens were a danger to our countryThe release of The War Outside by Monica Hesse grabbed my attention immediately because this isn't a piece of history discussed often and also because I was interested to see how the topic would be handled in a YA novel  While some may find this an unusual novel for the YA genre I think YA is the perfect audience for historical fiction tackling a lesser known piece of history that holds some powerful emotions  It can create discussion and most importantly teach a history lesson by allowing readers to step in to shoes of characters they can identify with to really drive these emotions home  Also let's not forget that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat itIn The War Outside it's 1944 and we're taken to Crystal City a family internment camp that houses both Japanese and German Americans accused of colluding with enemies of the United States  We meet Haruko and Margot both students at the Federal high school in the camp I don't want you to ever forget where you are You are a prisoner here I don't care if you have a new friend or if there's a school newspaper or if there are books in the library or if there are community picnics Or if there's a football team everyone comes out to cheer for At the end of the day you're a prisoner in the only way that matters If our family wanted to leave they wouldn't let youMargot has been at Crystal City for several months with her mom and dad  Her dad is frustrated by their circumstances and worries about the home they were forced to leave behind and also his wife who is in the middle of a difficult pregnancy  Margot is struggling under the strain placed on her family her parent's marriage and her mother's pregnancy are both at risk and they all feel helplessHaruko her mother and sister are all new to the camp  Haruko's father was sent months to Crystal City months ago after some people from the government showed up at their apartment and accused him of sharing state secrets  Haruko's older brother Ken a member of the 442nd an all Japanese American unit stationed in Europe sends brief letters but she is the only one who notices they don't sound at all like the brother she remembers  Margot is uiet and unusual Haruko is popular and confident but the two form an unlikely friendship  They face the devastation and confusion of being betrayed be the only country they have ever known while each struggling with their families to find their place in the world; dreaming of life outside the barbed wire fence  The two girls witness the distrust the Germans and Japanese have for one another while both are considered enemies of their country for different reasonsI do not want to give spoilers I'll only say that there are events that set in to motion a life altering change for one of the main characters  What appears to be a heartbreaking  betrayal turns out to be the extreme lengths someone will go to in order to ensure her safety and that ending will stick with me for a long time to comeI know I'm starting to sound like a broken record in my YA reviews but it has to be said  the story lacked character development and I didn't feel there was enough overall exploration of some of the major plot points or character's emotions  I just wanted because this was a powerful story told in the alternating voices of potentially compelling charactersI'm impressed by the research Hesse put in to the history of internment camps especially Crystal City She includes a note on historical accuracy at the end of the novel and explains where some of her ideas for characters and events originatedIf you love historical fiction andor YA this is a strong read about a time in American history few know about  I'll definitely be picking up some of the non fiction booksmemoirs Hesse recommends in her notes

  6. says:

    35 Rounded up to a 4 because I want people to read this This is the story of two girls who are in an internment camp for enemies of the state during World War 2 One is German the other Japanese and they build an unlikely friendship and closeness due to their circumstances Why do I want people to read this? Well it's about a part of our history that we try to cover up It's also a ueer story which is covered up even People like to act like ueer people weren't invented until the 50s60s and I'd hate to break it to you fam but that's not correctThis isn't like groundbreaking literature it's a simple historical fiction novel about two girls struggling because of decisions made by other people And it's a good story

  7. says:

    Was going to rate this a 3 star until I got to the ending and it left me speechless Did not see the ending coming and it made so much sense to me I like this story because it was something different then what I have ever read about It was about a Japanese American and German American girl whose family are sent to an internment Camp during WW2 It deals a lot with racism friendship family etc

  8. says:

    2 12 to 3 stars can't decide I'm torn between there So I wasn't in the mood to read and listen to any of the other two books I was already on and so I saw this audiobook available on the Libby App and I have to say this wasn't what I was expecting It was an okay readlisten to for me And despite being sick all week and now feeling MUCH BETTER I'm still surprised I made it through this in two days considering but that's also because I've been upping the speed on the app on my audiobooks on Libby lately and so I get through them a little fasterI did find it interesting to read how the author had receieved her own inspiration for this book and the story she came up with and I'm sure she put a lot of effort into her research to come up with this story I personally however couldn't get into it as much nor the story The only thing I didn't like the most though is that I WISH there was at least an epilogue if it consisted of 2 or 3 chapter or one long chapter because I actually wanted to know what happened to these two after the war I mean I found the twists of each girl at the end of the last two chapters interesting but I just felt like it lacked an Epilogue An aftermath or sorts But overall a still worth read book I also felt like it rushed into things and had some random moments once in a while but then with one tragic story with a turn of events it was heartbreaking yes but again because of it is why I wish there was an EpilogueThe ending to me felt bland boring majorly lacked something despite as to the WHY of the story and one of the character and why they did what they did So this was an okay read for me But I'd still recommend it to those who like either historical fiction WWII Historical Fiction or just want a good book to read This just didn't uite cut it for me is all and I wish I could have liked it as much as many other readers So read this for yourself and see what you think since this spoke to some but it didn't to me and idk why which I can't grasp face palm oh well Anyway happy reading and if anyone has read this I'd love to know your thoughts on it Hope you had or will have better luck than I did

  9. says:

    I don't know what I was thinking When it comes down to it I just don't like books that take place during WWII but I figured hey I really liked this author's other book Girl in the Blue Coat so maybe I could like this one I did not The War Outside is about two girls who meet in Crystal City a family internment camp for German and Japanese Americans families that are accused of siding with the enemy in 1944 Haruko and Margot meet at the high school and learn they are complete opposites but end up forming a secret friendship anyway Haruko is worried about her solider brother and her father that is hiding something Margot is trying to keep her family together while her mother's health fails and her father fraternizes with nazisThis book deals with a topic in history that isn't really talked about enough and for that good But for the rest? I was just bored I'm going to be honest but the only part that really did it for me was the author's note on history in the back where she talks about the real people she took inspiration from and the history of the campEverything about this story itself and these fictional characters was just so bland and the ending is so disappointing The plot is just people living in an internment camp and how everyone tried to move on with their lives behind bars just doing basic day to day things It isn't really building to anything and it had such a slow pace for being such a short book I still don't feel like much even happened It's called the war outside and yet we never get to see any of it I never even really felt the time periodThis has a secret friendship and even teases at it being something but nothing has time to develop so I just didn't care enough Literally everything in this book just felt underdeveloped While I would still recommend Girl in the Blue Coat this book just wasn't for me

  10. says:

    Two girls Haruko and Margot become unlikely friends when both are sent with their families to an internment camp in Texas during World War II Japanese American Haruko is from Colorado; German American Margot is from Iowa What makes this one different from other World War II stories is not only does it take place in the United States it is about German Americans living in internment camps I did not know about this part of American history The girls plot a future together after the War ends; they'll move to San Antonio get an apartment find jobs etc Could it really happen? Or will circumstances at the internment camp lead to a different ending for both girls? view spoilerIt's World War II; these stories rarely end well And this one is no different except that it will leave you wanting to learn about each girl hide spoiler