The War Outside by Monica Hesse
3 out of 5 stars.
Goodreads Description: It’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 Japan. Haruko 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 Nazis. With 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?
I was sent an ARC copy of The War Outside from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. It was released last month (September).
There is a book called Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse that I absolutely loved, so I was stoked when I was sent a copy of her new book to read and review. While I did receive the ARC, since it was already released by time I got to reading it, I ended up listening to the audiobook instead. The War Outside is a YA historical fiction book set in America in World Word II. While I didn’t absolutely love The War Outside, I thought it was a really great story and I enjoyed it. There were a few times where it was a bit slow for me and that maybe more could have happened. It just felt like maybe something was missing.
I really liked Margot and Haruko. They were both struggling with things in their own lives and families; but also at the same time things were a little similar between them and they could relate to each other on some level. One family is from Germany and one is from Japan, which lands them in a internment camp because of the war. I really liked Margot and Haruko’s friendship from the start. There were a couple surprises in the story, which were a bit sad. A lot of the story is heartbreaking when you really think about it and the things that happened.
I really liked the author note at the end of the book that mentioned all the similarities between the book and the things that happened in real life/history that inspired the story. The main characters and their stories are fiction, but they are based on events, stories, and things that actually happened. The camp in Crystal City was actually a real camp there at one time. It makes everything seem that much more real and can connect with the characters even more. Overall, I really enjoyed The War Outside. Great characters, friendships, and it really opened my eyes more into that period in time and events that happened during World War II that I didn’t know about.
I haven’t updated in a couple weeks, but I’ve just been busy and preoccupied with other things. I usually get busy and my mind wanders more during the holiday months though, so this is expected. I’ve been making a lot of progress on my Christmas shopping, which is nice. I think I should be done with it in a couple weeks! Anyway, I’ll have another update soon (probably early next week) about what I’m reading and life happenings. I’ll also catch up with all of your posts soon too. I hope you have a great day! If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving tomorrow!