Publishers Weekly Review
In 1944, 17-year-old Japanese-American Haruko, from Colorado, and German-American Margot, from Iowa, are imprisoned with their families in a Department of Justice-run internment camp for "enemy aliens" suspected by the U.S. government of being spies. (The camp differs from WWII War Relocation Authority-run camps to which West Coast Japanese residents were relocated en masse, an author's note explains.) Although the two groups in the Texas camp rarely mix, the young women are immediately drawn to each other. Both are experiencing family problems: Haruko worries about her brother, who is serving in the U.S. Army's Japanese division, and wonders what her father had to do with her family's relocation; Margot's father finds himself courted by Nazi idealists as their situation worsens, and her pregnant mother fears yet another miscarriage. Camp life, with its daily indignities and occasional tragedies, grows tense, and the two girls find their friendship intensifying. Hesse (The Girl in the Blue Coat) draws Margot and Haruko realistically and sympathetically, bolstered by research into WWII internment camps, in a moving book that successfully describes an unjust aspect of U.S. history. Ages 12-up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Crystal City, TX, 1944. Haruko and her family are reunited with her father at an internment camp. Crystal City is unique for having both German and Japanese families. While trying to adjust to her new home, Haruko is drawn to Margot, the only German girl attending her high school. Despite their many differences, they are united by one shared experience: the camp is ruining both of their families. Haruko worries about her soldier brother and distrusts her father. Margot is concerned about her mother's ailing health and her father's growing alliance with Nazi supporters. As their secret friendship becomes more intense and tension rises among the camp prisoners, they must determine if they can trust anyone-even each other. The author of Girl in the Blue Coat returns with another superb historical fiction novel for YA collections. Hesse deftly balances actual events from Crystal City with a resonating fictional story of forbidden friendship and love. By switching between Haruko's and Margot's narratives, and even including brief flash-forwards from both characters, Hesse weaves an engaging mystery. VERDICT A satisfying and bittersweet novel, perfect for those who enjoyed Markus Zusak's The Book Thief or Sherri L. Smith's Flygirl.-Kaetlyn Phillips, Yorkton, Sask. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* It's 1944 and WWII is raging, and Japanese American Haruko and German American Margot and their families both regarded by the U.S. government as enemy aliens have been remanded to the Crystal City, Texas, family internment camp. Though the German and Japanese populations there are largely self-segregated, Haruko and Margot meet and become unlikely friends. As their friendship intensifies, the two girls begin to fantasize about a life together outside the camp, but then two momentous things happen: they experience a moment of unusual, almost frightening intensity, and two little girls, one German and one Japanese, drown in the camp pool. After that, things change dramatically and irredeemably. Hesse (Girl in the Blue Coat, 2016) has written an extraordinary novel of injustice and xenophobia based on real history. The Crystal City camp actually existed, as did a few characters and situations portrayed in the novel. Hesse does a superb job of recreating life as it was lived by innocent people forced to exist surrounded by barbed wire fences and guards. In Haruko and Margot, she has written developed, multidimensional characters who live dramatically on the page. Readers will empathize with them and their plight, wishing the best for them but also understanding, thanks to the author's unsparing honesty and integrity, that not all endings are happy ones.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist