Nuanced and riveting in equal parts.

FOUR-FOUR-TWO

The story of two young Japanese-American men who enlist in the 442nd Regiment, a segregated unit of Japanese-American soldiers and white officers that fought in the European Theater.

Before getting to the war, Hughes provides an on-the-ground view of the American government roundup of Japanese immigrants and citizens after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, their detainment, and eventual transport to internment camps. As seen through the eyes of Topaz internees Yuki and his friend Shig, fighting for the United States would redeem their honor as Americans, but gradually their perspective changes. They learn that honor is not a public display but rather something earned (or not) by comrades undergoing extreme hardship and covering one another’s backs. Hughes sends these men through the wringer. They endure foot rot and the stress of taking the next hill (which is worse is up for grabs), and they also grapple with the consequences: how does one reconcile shooting a kid, even if he’s an enemy soldier? Yuki reflects that “what he and Shig were doing—and the Germans, too—was brutal, disgusting,” and he would “spend his life trying to remove all this ugliness from his head and his hands.” Throughout, Hughes never shies from the institutionalized bigotry that put these Americans of Japanese ancestry into harm’s way more than their fair share of times.

Nuanced and riveting in equal parts. (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6252-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue.

THE BETROTHED

From the Betrothed series , Vol. 1

In an imagined setting evoking medieval England, King Jameson of Coroa pursues Hollis Brite.

The independent teenager makes Jameson laugh, but she lacks the education and demeanor people expect in a queen. Her friend Delia Grace has more knowledge of history and languages but is shunned due to her illegitimate birth. Hollis gets caught up in a whirl of social activity, especially following an Isolten royal visit. There has been bad blood between the two countries, not fully explained here, and when an exiled Isolten family also comes to court, Jameson generously allows them to stay. Hollis relies on the family to teach her about Isolten customs and secretly falls in love with Silas, the oldest son, even though a relationship with him would mean relinquishing Jameson and the throne. When Hollis learns of political machinations that will affect her future in ways that she abhors, she faces a difficult decision. Romance readers will enjoy the usual descriptions of dresses, jewelry, young love, and discreet kisses, although many characters remain cardboard figures. While the violent climax may be upsetting, the book ends on a hopeful note. Themes related to immigration and young women’s taking charge of their lives don’t quite lift this awkwardly written volume above other royal romances. There are prejudicial references to Romani people, and whiteness is situated as the norm.

Skip this uninspired entry into the world of medieval love and court intrigue. (Historical romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229163-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Rags to riches with a British twist.

HELLO, CRUEL HEART

Penniless 16-year-old orphan Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer but survives by robbing rich tourists in swinging 1960s London.

After her mother died in a freak accident, Estella moved to the city, bunking down in the Lair, a grimy pad in a bombed-out building, with her chosen family of fellow thieves Horace and Jasper. Although she flunked out of school, Estella has exceptional design talent and is determined to excel in the field. A pair of well-connected trust-fund twins dazzle her with their carefree, affluent lifestyle and groovy circle of friends, and they ultimately exploit her by bartering her fashion skills for accommodation and friendship. Estella soon learns that their glamorous lifestyle is shallow and their friendships, fickle, and she realizes that she will have to find her own way in life. Estella’s complete naïveté in the face of wealth and sophistication is convincingly drawn, and her fashionista ability is fun and engaging; the ending brings a twist that readers may not see coming. The story contains peripheral references to One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Estella has Cruella de Vil black-and-white hair, which she disguises with red dye, and a Cruella alter ego who pops up in her head in moments of crisis and helps her remain true to herself. All characters present White.

Rags to riches with a British twist. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-05776-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more