Cover image for The war outside
The war outside
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.

Physical Description:
318 pages : map ; 22 cm
Target Audience:
HL 710 L
Teens Haruko, a Japanese American, and Margot, a German American, form a life-changing friendship as everything around them starts falling apart in the Crystal City family internment camp during World War II.

1944. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado-- until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan. At the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy, the teens discover that the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko becomes consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father's secrets. Margot's watches her mother's health deteriorate and her rational father become a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis. In a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone-- even each other? -- adapted from info.
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On Order

Prescott Public Library1Received on 11/16/18



New from Monica Hesse, the bestselling and award-winning author of Girl in the Blue Coat-- an "important" ( New York Times Book Review ), "extraordinary" ( Booklist , starred review) novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal

"A must-read for fans of historical fiction." --Ruta Sepetys, #1 New York Times bestselling author

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?

Reviews 6

School 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.

Publisher's 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.

Horn Book Review

During WWII, Haruko (who's Japanese American) and Margot (German American) meet in the Crystal City internment camp in Texas. They form a secret friendship that must withstand suspicion, xenophobia, and the degradation of their families. Told in the girls' alternating voices, this is a touching and enlightening story of friendship and perseverance during a shameful chapter in U.S. history. Includes notes on historical accuracy. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Interned in a Texas camp during World War II, Japanese-American Haruko and German-American Margot watch their families fall apart and are driven to depend on each other, even if they should not.In 1944, teenagers Haruko Tanaka and Margot Krukow are imprisoned with their families in Crystal City, a Department of Justice family internment camp for Japanese- and German-born prisoners of war. Different from the War Relocation Authority internment camps, these are specifically meant for enemy aliens, with the possibility of repatriation to their birth countries. Haruko, fearing for her brother, Ken, serving in the 442nd division of the U.S. Army, and resenting her secretive father for their situation, starts pulling away from her family. Margot tries to keep her small family together as her pregnant mother sickens and her father is pushed by frustration and persecution into Nazi ideology. Though vastly different, the two girls find themselves attracted to each other in more ways than one. Hesse (American Fire, 2017, etc.) painstakingly researched accounts from various archival records to convey the rich and complex emotions surrounding a shameful episode of injustice in American history, during which human beings were involuntarily and irrevocably changed through the choices of others.An exploration of lesser-known aspects of Japanese-American and German-American internment during World War II. (map, historical notes) (Historical fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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

New York Review of Books Review

IN THE PAST FEW YEARS, children's literature has become more committed to diversity, and lately we're seeing more "Own Voices" books, whose authors share their protagonists' marginalized identity. The best of this season's historical fiction demonstrates why all kinds of diversity are important, with writers from varied backgrounds using settings we've seen before - a Native American boarding school, a World War II internment camp in Texas, Okinawa, Chicago during the Great Migration - to tell stories that are nuanced, honest and new. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT created Indian boarding schools in the late 19 th century to control Native Americans and eradicate their culture. Run on military lines with draconian rules and brutal punishments, they're a stain on our national history - yet some Native American parents, given the complexity of their circumstances, willingly and with full understanding chose to place their own children there. That situation is sensitively dramatized in TWO ROADS (Dial, 320 pp., $16.99; ages io to 14), by the celebrated Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac. In 1932 12-year-old Cal Black and his father live as knights of the road, hobos following an ethical code. Cal's father served honorably in the Great War, but lost the family farm to foreclosure two years ago, just after Cal's mother died. Since then they've ridden the rails in search of better prospects they never find. Cal is often hungry and sometimes scared: Their black hair and tan skin can make him and his father targets in the rural South. But Cal adores his father and is proud of the way they help each other. Then war veterans decide to camp around Washington in pursuit of their wartime bonuses. Cal's father, fearing the situation won't be safe for Cal, drops two bombshells: First, he and Cal are not white. They're Creek Indians. Second, he wants Cal to go to Challagi, the Indian boarding school in Oklahoma that he himself ran away from three times. While the education and the living conditions will be subpar, they're better than what Cal's getting now - and if his father can get his bonus they could go back to having a permanent home. At Challagi, the days of draconian punishments are past, but still far more students run away than graduate. It's not an easy place - but it gives Cal a community, and a tribal identity he didn't realize he was lacking. He joins a band of boys, begins to learn to speak Creek and takes part in stomp dances at night in the woods. Cal's cleareyed first-person narration drives the novel. Meticulously honest, generous, autonomous and true, he sees things for what they are rather than what he'd like them to be. The result is one of Bruchac's best books. Cal comes to see himself as a gentleman of two roads: one he travels with his father, and the other, a Creek road, that he negotiates himself. A detailed afterword explains sources for the story. THE WAR OUTSIDE (Little, Brown, 318 pp., $17.99; ages 12 and up), by Monica Hesse ("The Girl in the Blue Coat"), also takes a setting we think we understand and shifts it in an important way. Seventeen-year-old Haruko is a nisei, an American-born child of Japanese immigrants. In 1944, along with her younger sister and her mother, she travels from Denver to Texas, to join her father in a World War II family internment camp called Crystal City. Unlike the camps where West Coast Japanese-Americans were imprisoned en masse, Crystal City houses enemy aliens suspected of actually spying - and not just Japanese. Germans live in Crystal City, too. On her first day of high school in the camp, Haruko meets Margot, a first-generation GermanAmerican teenager whose family farmed in Iowa. Margot's father attended a Nazi meeting there. Margot hates Hitler but she's not sure what her increasingly unstable father actually believes. Meanwhile Haruko doesn't know why her father was sent to the camp, but she knows he's hiding something from her. Her brother, Ken, is fighting in the United States Army. Has her father somehow endangered him? Crystal City is divided, literally and metaphorically - Japanese on one side of the camp, Germans on the other. Neither side trusts the other; neither side is entirely trustworthy. Because the government considers the families to be prisoners of war, who might be repatriated to their birth countries and complain about their treatment, the facility is reasonably comfortable, with a well-appointed school and a vast community swimming pool. But it's still a prison, and both girls feel changed by their confinement. Haruko and Margot quickly forge an intense, wholly believable, somewhat erotic secret relationship. As the war careens to an end, tensions in the camp lead to violence. One of the girls is forced to betray the other. It's a tightly plotted exploration of the consequences of fear. ALAN GRATZ, the author of the best-selling "Refugee," couldn't write a slow-paced book even if he were paid by the word. In GRENADE (Scholastic, 270 pp., $17.99; ages 9 to 12 ), he takes on the nearly three-month battle of Okinawa through the eyes of two combatants: Ray, a young man on his first tour of duty in the Marines, and Hideki, a 14-year-old schoolboy who is granted early graduation the day the Americans land. He also receives two grenades: one to kill the enemy and one to kill himself. Okinawa had been under Japanese control for over 300 years, but Okinawans never really assimilated, retaining their own language and culture. The higher-ups within the Japanese Army have all removed to the mainland. Those soldiers left on Okinawa are charged with fighting to the last man. Hideki's family lives under the shadow of an ancestor's cowardice, so he's determined to prove himself a hero, until his dying father charges him with finding his sister and staying alive. For a middle school novel this has a high body count. War is relentless; characters we care about die. Gratz is careful not to describe the bloodshed in too much detail, but it still might be a bit much for some readers. The central truth, hard won and believable, is that sometimes it takes greater courage not to fight. Hideki learns to see valor on both sides, to understand that war turns people into monsters, but that after the battle the monsters can become people again. FINDING LANGSTON (Holiday House, 112 pp., $17.99; ages 9 to 13), the first middle grade novel by the picture book writer Lesa Cline-Ransome ("Before She Was Harriet"), takes us into the years just after World War II. When 11-year-old Langston's mother died, his father sold what little they had and moved himself and Langston from Alabama to a black neighborhood in Chicago called Bronzeville. Langston is lonely and grieving. So far none of Chicago's supposed benefits have materialized: His father works long hours but can't afford to replace Langston's worn boots or country overalls. Their apartment is bleak and empty. They seem to have buried all warmth and comfort with Mama. Then, by accident, Langston happens upon the George Cleveland Hall Library. In Alabama, libraries were for whites only. This library, Langston learns, is for any resident of Chicago - and its founder, namesake and head librarian are all black. Langston discovers black writers - among them, a poet with whom he shares a name. Is that an accident? Or did Mama somehow know this poetry? There aren't any explosions in this spare story. Nor is there a happy ending. Instead, Langston discovers something more enduring: solace. To quote Langston Hughes: "My black one / Thou are not beautiful / Yet thou hast / A loveliness / Surpassing beauty." It's a fine epitaph for all of these fine books. KIMBERLY BRUBAKER BRADLEY IS the author of the Newbery Honor-winning "The War That Saved My Life" and its sequel, "The War I Finally Won."