August 25, 2018

ARC MINI REVIEW: The War Outside by Monica Hese

The War Outside by Monica Hesse (September 25, 2018)
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This did NOT affect my honest review. Thank you Little Brown Books!
Purchase: Amazon | Banes & Noble
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: 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?

My Review

During World War II, after being convicted of treason, Haruko’s Japanese father and Margot’s German father are forced into a family internment camp in Crystal City, Texas, where a 10-foot fence topped with barbed wire and armed guards surrounds their new home. Months later, Margot’s and Haruko’s families are reunited at the camp. Haruko spends her days trying not to worry about her brother fighting in the war while Margot focuses her efforts on studying and taking care of her mom. Neither of them expects to find happiness while living in a camp full of secrets and unrest, but when they meet, an unlikely friendship starts to form. Haruko is brave and na├»ve while Margot is studious and strong-willed, adding even more tension and intrigue to their friendship. Although the plot was slow-moving at first, its slowly unraveling mystery and unexpected ending make for a thought-provoking discussion. Hesse not only shines light on a dark part of America’s history that some may not know about, but her unique storytelling inspires further research on this tragic history. Hesse provides a brief note on historical accuracy at the back of the book which is also filled with further resources and helpful information. This powerful story will make a good addition to any young adult historical fiction collection.


  1. I love the period, and while I don't normally look to YA for this type of read, I must admit you have me wanting to grab this one Kay!


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