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Within These Lines

post written by Esther Filbrun

Title: Within These Lines
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Major Themes: American History, Japanese, Concentration Camps, World War II
Synopsis: When her best friend is taken away, Evalina must learn to deal with her grief—and figure out how to encourage Taichi to hold on even though he’s in a concentration camp.

Up until a year or two ago, I had heard hardly anything about the American Japanese who were placed in different concentration camps in the US during the Second World War. Then, I came across a book on the topic, was surprised by the history, and listened about half-way through it (I still haven’t finished that book…oops!). Since then, I’ve thought that that piece of history would be something I’d like to explore further, but I had not done anything about it until I read a review of Within These Lines. I’d been wanting to try out Stephanie Morrill’s writings for a while now, ever since I first “met” her on, so this was the perfect chance!

Evalina has done something she knows her parents wouldn’t approve of, something she knows she could end up suffering for. She’s fallen in love with a Japanese American, and with Pearl Harbor now on everyone’s minds, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be Japanese in America. Though she’s Italian, she feels the sting keenly when her boyfriend, Taichi, finds out he will be sent off to an unknown location very soon. How can this injustice in human rights be justified? Is there anything she can do to change the sentence? —But no, no one will listen to her. Then comes the hardest question of all: Will Taichi be the same when (and if) he comes back? Will they ever be able to be married and have that family they’ve dreamed of together? For Taichi, the questions are even more difficult. How will his family ever handle having everything stripped from them, and being sent somewhere under guard like a bunch of criminals?

It’s fascinating to see history coming to life in books like Within These Lines. Seeing the struggles people had to go through makes me wonder how I can help those that are struggling today—the situations may be different, but there will still always those who need help. It was also interesting to see the resourcefulness people had—they had a lot to make do with, and they did their best with what they could. After reading books like this, I’m inspired to do my best to help others where they are and encourage them to keep their hopes up. It’s also an interesting perspective on history—though we may think that we are doing the best job possible, sometimes we can run people over in our desire to appear even bigger and better.

I requested a free review copy of this book from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion of it.

WARNING: Kissing is mentioned in ch. 2, 3, 6, 8, and 31. Unmarried people touch in ch. 3, 6, 7, 8, 12, 20, 23, 24, and 38.
There is lying in ch. 1, 8, 23, 25, 28, and 34. The word “gee” is used in ch. 5 (twice) and 20. The word “blasted” is used in ch. 7. The word “stinking” is used unnecessarily in ch. 10. The phrase “good grief” is used in ch. 23. Someone swears in ch. 10, 18, 20, 23, 32, and 33. A girl is called a doll twice in ch. 15.
Mention is made of a girl who hid the fact that she had a boyfriend, and that she was pregnant and miscarried, in ch. 2. There’s a mention of someone using the bathroom in ch. 11, mention is made of toilets overflowing and no privacy, and diarrhea is mentioned later in the chapter. No privacy issues again mentioned in ch. 13. A girl’s cycle is mentioned in ch. 33.
Hundreds of thousands of years are mentioned in ch. 12.
A girl spits at a soldier in ch. 9. A man got beaten badly (almost to being unrecognizable) in ch. 33. People start beating someone else and are carrying nasty clubs in ch. 34. People push to kill all the “traitors” in the camp in ch. 35. A man taunts a soldier in a provocative way (which I don’t at all appreciate), tear gas is thrown, there is shooting, and three people are killed in ch. 36. Boys try to trash a house in ch. 35.

Age Levels:

Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults


Links to buy Within These Lines:

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle | Hardcover | Audible Audiobook (unabridged) | Audio CD (unabridged)

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback | Hardcover


Japanese, Concentration Camps, History, Historical Fiction, Romance, World War II, US History 1900-1950, North America

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