Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill | Book Review

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.

Degrading treatment make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds. 

w o w what a beautiful piece of historical fiction! I had been looking forward to reading some of Mrs. Morrill’s books lately and I’m so glad to say that Within These Lines did not disappoint!

I’ve never been one to read and really enjoy historical fiction, but I loved this book – it honestly inspired me to research more about 1940s and read more books set in that timeframe. Within These Lines deals with many things, but mainly daily life in internment camps. This is one of the only times I’ve seen books approach this topic so closely and so raw and near to the matter, and I love that the book wasn’t shrouded in depression and darkness, but rather in hope – even though the situation was full of despair.

This will be an unpopular opinion, but the characters missed the mark for me. I loved reading about Evalina and Taichi and their families – I really did, but I feel like I was in it more for what happened + learning more about the internment camps than for the characters. I really admire Evalina’s courage and fiery passion though, and I love Taichi’s positive attitude. It really inspired me. My favorite character was probably Aiko, though. I love her snarkiness and sarcasm and general character – she really added life and flavor to the story and I loved it whenever she made an appearance. 😉

Overall, A+ for the historical-ness of this book! I loved getting a glimpse into the internment camp, and I think most people would really benefit from reading this book. I adored reading Mrs. Morrill’s fluid and engaging writing style as well. 4 stars.

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Stephanie Morrill writes books about girls who are on an adventure to discover their unique place in the world. She is the author of several contemporary young adult series, as well as the 1920s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street, and the WWII era romance, Within These Lines. Since 2010, Stephanie has been encouraging the next generation of writers at her website, GoTeenWriters.com. She lives in the Kansas City area, where she loves plotting big and small adventures to enjoy with her husband and three children. You can connect with Stephanie and learn more about her books at her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

you might win a hardcover copy of Within These Lines, a signed bookplate, AND a poster!!

Oh boy. That was a lot of information. xD I hope you enjoyed my review and please check out Within These Lines! You won’t regret it. 🙂



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