THE WAR OUTSIDE by Monica Hesse
Texas was the site of Crystal City – an internment camp for “Enemy Aliens” during World War II. Crystal City was for those people of German, Japanese or Italian ancestry that the government believed might be spies.
Haruku and Margot both accompanied fathers who were suspects. They lived on opposite sides of the camp but became friends – sort of. This story gives a glimpse into the reality of their lives and that of the others interned at Crystal City. They were American teenagers, but because someone in their family was suspect, they had been uprooted and sent to a hot, dusty, ill equipped prison. They were enemies to each other and to their country.
Hesse writes clearly of young people confused and conflicted and does it extremely well. Margot and Haruku live and breathe.
They become friends - and enemies. They trust each other - and break that trust. We learn of their families – their love, their politics, their fears, their coping – and their NOT coping. Engrossing, terrifying, moving, sweet and bittersweet – all these and more.
Ultimately a story of betrayal and forgiveness, THE WAR OUTSIDE is thought provoking and well worth reading.
5 of 5 stars