The War Between Us Blog Tour Plus Review

04_The War Between Us_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL.png

The War Between Us
by Sarah Creviston Lee

Publication Date: December 14, 2015
Paperback & eBook; 330 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Editor’s Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society.

Alex Moon is not the enemy.

Six months after Pearl Harbor’s tragedy, Korean American Alex Moon is sent away from his home in California for refusing his father’s request to join the fight against the Japanese. On his journey, Alex is attacked and stranded in the small town of River Bluff, Indiana just for looking like America’s most hated enemy.

Unexpectedly, Alex is befriended by a local girl, Lonnie Hamilton, who comes to his defense, saving him from doubt and despair while placing herself in the cross hairs of prejudice. Alex falls in love with his ally—a love that is clearly forbidden. Torn between his dual identities, Korean and American, and grappling with how everyone sees him, Alex must wage the war within himself—of defending who he is, resolving his tortured feelings about the war, and fighting for the woman he loves.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

BBN_REVIEW2

I knew that Japanese-Americans in the United States suffered abuse during World War II. Their entire country turned against them, treating them as if they were the enemy. That’s even without considering the fact that the citizens were eventually ripped out of their homes and placed into “internment camps.” It was definitely a difficult and dark time to live in. But I never considered how other groups could have been hurt by the discrimination against Japanese people. This book told me exactly how.

Alex doesn’t want to fight for America in the war. He hates what the country did to his Japanese friends, and he doesn’t see how fighting in the war will change anything. That makes his father send him away to live with his uncle. On the way, he starts to experience the racism occurring in other parts of America. Apparently, they believe that everyone that looks even remotely Japanese is Japanese, and so they assume that he is Japanese even though he is Korean. This discrimination causes him to be off the train, in a town far away from his uncle, and without even a fraction of the money that he was traveling with. He thinks that all is lost until a Reverand finds him and offers to help him, and then Alex decides to make the best of a bad situation. He will have to face the judgment of the townspeople, but he has to find some sort of work and lodging until he can contact his uncle. There he meets Lonnie.

Lonnie is not like most of the people in town. The townspeople, children and adults, all hate Alex simply because he looks Japanese. Lonnie finds out that he is Korean, and is immediately intrigued by him. She wants to learn more about his culture and tries to befriend him. Her uncle is the Reverand, so she sees Alex often, but everyone in town is warning her to stay away from him.

This “forbidden romance” novel is interesting because it is realistic. Now, we aren’t hearing about a prince and a princess from warring families falling in love. We do hear about people from different races or different religions falling for each other though, and facing adversity.

Both Alex and Lonnie are technically adults, but they are both under their parents’ control. Alex always had his mother to vouch for him, but eventually, his father got his way and sent him to live with another family member. Lonnie didn’t have her father to protect her from her mother, so she was subjected to her mother’s desires. Neither parent seemed that physically abusive, but they were definitely emotionally abusive and controlling.

This is definitely a slow-burn romance and not an “insta-love” story. Alex and Lonnie were honestly just friends. They felt as if they could relate to each other, and they were both trapped in Indiana. The feelings didn’t even start until the book was about halfway completed, but once they began, I fell for their romance. It was a clean romance novel, but I could feel their honest love for each other.

Lonnie and Alex were such likable characters. Lonnie was innocent about the world, as she had never even left Indiana. She’d never seen the ocean and didn’t know how other’s lived in other countries. All she knew was her family and her town. She worked to support her mother and sisters, even though she never really felt as if she fit in with them. Alex always tried to do the right thing, but then his own country turned against him. Even though his country, Korea, was under siege by the Japanese, they were just lumped in with them as the “enemy.” He watched friends be taken away, friends that he knew he could trust, and he could do nothing about it.

This was truly an eye-opening read, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new historical fiction novel to enjoy.

I received a copy of this novel and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

BBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOKBBN_BOOK

Praise for The War Between Us

“Sarah Creviston Lee crafts a smart, fast-paced, uncensored, and quite moving story of embattled love and obstacles overcome. Even her unsavory characters are warmly, believably drawn, and the character of Lonnie Hamilton herself is wonderfully authentic. I read hungrily as the story picked up pace. Highly recommended.” -Laura Fahey, The Historical Novel Society

“Lonnie and Alex are perfect renderings of their time, cultures, and upbringings. Anyone familiar with multicultural literature will find a new author to love, and readers new to a beautifully developed look at a culture unlike ours will find a new genre to love. Lonnie isn’t immune to her town’s prejudice against Alex, but she is able to think things through before reacting. Alex is a moving and heartbreaking picture of a young man caught between two cultures and hated for events not of his making. Together, they are remarkable.” -Julie York, InD’Tale Magazine

“Debuting author Sarah Creviston Lee bursts into the historical fiction market with The War Between Us, a distinctive glimpse at post-Pearl Harbor America and the Asian American citizens caught in the resulting backlash of heightened nationalism and fear. Her honest and empathetic handling of the issues, as well as her complex characters, make this a read that remains with you after the cover is closed.” -Laurie L. C. Lewis, award-winning author of the Free Men and Dreamers series

About the Author

Sarah Creviston Lee was born and raised as a proud Hoosier. She can usually be found tinkering in the kitchen with WWII ration recipes, haunting local antique shops, homeschooling her kids, clacking away on her laptop writing one story or another, or watching old school movies with her family.

She currently lives in Maryland with her husband, three children, and flock of feisty chickens.

In 2016, her book, The War Between Us, received the Editor’s Choice Award from the Historical Novel Society.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, December 7
Feature at Tar Heel Reader
Review at Passages to the Past

Saturday, December 8
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, December 10
Review at Bri’s Book Nook
Feature at Old Timey Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, December 11
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, December 12
Feature at A Book Geek
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, December 13
Review at Creating Herstory
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 14
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All
Review, Excerpt, and Q&A at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Saturday, December 15
Feature at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog

Monday, December 17
Excerpt at Jathan & Heather
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 2 paperback copies of The War Between Us! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The War Between Us

I’m Still Here Review

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for WhitenessAustin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

This was definitely an important novel in this day and age. Mrs. Austin really talks about important issues that stem from being black in everyday life and being black in the business world. Little things that most people would just ignore really hurt Austin, such as when a girl at her school says that a black person took her place at her dream college due to affirmative action and no one decided to correct her. She had to learn how to fight through the silent prejudice at work, like when her coworkers thought she was being impersonal by leaving right after the meetings and not staying to chat, even though other people did the same thing. She even had to fight the racism within the church, the last place that she thought she would see it.

This powerful story truly shows how deep people’s prejudice could be, and revealed the subtle ways that they choose to show it. By calling people out on it and letting others know that this type of racism is still occurring, things might actually start to change for the better.

I appreciated the fact that this book was written completely in chronological order. This allowed me to see how Austin went from not understanding the racist ideals around her, to feeling as if she couldn’t escape them. Even as a reader I felt depressed reading about Austin’s work and church environment.

I also know the church racism all too well. Many people don’t know that I am a Lutheran, and have been all of my life. I have also gone to a mixed-race church and a predominantly island/African American church. Honestly, I have seen more discrimination in the predominantly island/African American church! People who are Christians might claim to love each other, and they might accept other black people coming to the church, but they don’t want anyone “different.” If someone is “too poor”, white, hasn’t come to church often enough, or gay, they wouldn’t even try to hide the fact that they aren’t welcome. If we want to work together towards ending these thigns, we can’t say “no discrimination and racism as long as you fit these conditions,” we have to say No Discrimination and Racism PERIOD.

This book has a lot to say, and I hope that more people pick it up to hear its message. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for an inspirational novel discussing racism and prejudice in modern America and the modern church.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

Dear Martin Review

Dear Martin

Justyce is top of his class and headed for an Ivy League school, but he is also one of the only African American boys in his area. This is emphasized when he is put in handcuffs after trying to transport an intoxicated friend back home after a party. He has tried to fit in with the white boys at his school, but he is simultaneously hurt when they are oblivious to the racial differences between them.

When Justyce is riding in the car one day with his friend Manny, they have the music turned up high. This angers an off-duty white cop, and they are caught in the crosshairs of the policeman’s gun. When the media gets involved, Justyce is the one under attack.

This is an important book for everyone to read, just as The Hate U Give is important. It even better than The Hate U Give for people who don’t read that much, as it is shorter. I would have read this entire book in one sitting if I didn’t take a break to eat in between chapters.

This book shows that no matter how “good” someone can be, it will always come down to race in America. It wouldn’t matter if a boy like Justyce, who didn’t do drugs or belong to a gang, was innocent. In the eyes of a cop, he could be just another troublemaker. This resonates with me, an African American girl who is also good in school and applying to high-achieving colleges. There could be a day where I am in the wrong place at the wrong time and killed, whether it be a case of mistaken identity or simply a racist person with a gun.

I think that it is important for people to read stories like this because even though they may be fictional, it really opens your eyes. Hopefully, these types of stories will simply be historical fiction when I  am an adult, and that my generation can start to eliminate racism.

Overall Rating: 6/5

Carve The Mark Review

CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth - on sale January 17, 2017

Cyra grew up with her older brother, her tyrant father, and her loving mother. When she is young, she gets the power to cause people pain. When her brother comes into power, he uses her power to torture and gain information out of people. She hates that she is exploited like this, but there is nowhere for her to go. Her gift leaves her with chronic pain that periodically intensifies every time she has to use her gift, so she constantly lives throughout different waves of pain.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle, and his power is to interrupt the “current” or basically silence someone’s powers (like the Silencers from Red Queen). Because Cyra is such a useful asset to her brother, her brother assigns Akos to help her with her pain. At first, he is against the idea of helping the person who has probably caused the most physical pain in the kingdom. But eventually when the two end up having to spend more time together, they both realize things about themselves, their kingdoms, and each other that they had never known before.

Okay let me address one  thing first. I have heard many people who have read this book quote the (blogger?) Justina Ireland when she wrote a review (that seems to have been taken down?) of this book saying that it was racist because of the stereotypical tropes within it. For example, Cyra and her people are considered “savages”, when they speak their language sounds harsh to foreigners, they cut themselves for “traditions”, and they are considered “evil”. So these seem to be quite a few things that have either been said/known about Native Americans or people from different countries of Africa for very many years, and so many people thought that it was wrong for all these things to be used for the characteristics of the evil group of the book.

I have to say that I agree, the choices were in very poor taste, but I am very torn about how this will affect my view of the book itself. Minus all of the poor choice of evil characteristics in the book, I quite enjoyed the storyline and I fell in love with both characters. I read it in one afternoon, and it felt to me as if I was falling in love with another Divergent Trilogy. If I overlooked all of those things, this book would probably receive 5/5 stars for me. Many people on goodreads say that they couldn’t understand why someone could enjoy such a story, but I honestly liked it.

Cyra was such a unique and interesting character to me. She suffers a lot throughout the book, but she was determined to not be dependent on anyone and not to break down. She is considered to be the worst person because she has to make people feel pain for her brother, but she too struggles with the stress of having a broken family and her chronic pain. Akos isn’t that special to be honest. He’s just kinda there. But he helps Cyra and he’s cute so that makes him important.

Overall, I am really torn between giving this book the rating that the story deserves, and giving the story the rating that the trope deserves. But in order to stop these tropes from being used, use of them at all has to be discouraged. So I will rate it according to the tropes.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

The Secret of the Old Clock Review

32979

Nancy is a strong-willed 16 year old girl whose father is a lawyer. When she hears about how the rich Topham family  is receiving all of the money from deceased Josiah Crowley’s will, she is slightly suspicious. When she hears rumors from some of the old friends that Josiah used to have and the Tophams themselves about another will having possibly been made, she is immediately on the case. She is determined to find out if Josiah had made a different will, and if he did she wants to be the one to find it.

I have to say that first and foremost I love the Nancy Drew series. Especially the older versions when she was really a spunky girl. In the newer versions with the yellow spines, or the even newer ones that are completely yellow or something, she was still a very bright girl but she was dumbed down a bit and started caring about things such as “prom” and “having a boyfriend”. I can’t say that I hate those books, I even read the Nancy Drew Notebooks with an 8 year old Nancy Drew when I was younger, but it wasn’t sticking to the original character. The original Nancy Drew did not worry about things as trivial as that, she was a true crime solver, and that is why I loved her. That being said….

The author who wrote the original Nancy Drew books was a very racist woman. Many people have never actually read the original Nancy Drew books, but even when my mother used to read them to me she would have to omit certain parts. Let me give you an example. There is only one black man in the entire book of the Secret of the Old Clock. Since he is kind of a spoiler character, I am only going to tell how he is portrayed. Nancy refers to him as a “colored man” which, okay this was written in the 1930s. I will forgive that. But then when the character opens his mouth, he speaks in the most broken, idiotic English that any character in the book has spoken yet. He slows Nancy down in her case. He is drunk the entire time he is in the story. He is basically the most useless and stupid character in the book. And this is the ONLY black person in the entire story. I vaguely remember reading several of these original books,  and in almost every story, there was very few characters that were any race other than white, and if they were they were usually black and were either being made fun of or being chastised for their stupid actions. If this doesn’t say something about the author, I don’t know what will.

So there you have it. The storyline is great, but the racism is very prominent and pretty harsh for a children’s book. I will continue with this series, because I just love Nancy Drew and I want to see her in her original form. However, I do not want to ignore the glaring faults of this book for the sake of loving it.

Overall Rating (Ignoring racism): 5/5

Overall Rating (Not Ignoring): 3/5

The Hate U Give Review

32075671

Starr is a 16-year-old African American girl. She goes to school at Williamson, which is the private high school made up of mostly white kids, but she lives in the Garden, a place that many including herself sometimes consider the “ghetto”. She usually doesn’t talk to many of the people there, simply because she doesn’t go to school with them, but one night she goes to a party thrown by the local drug lord simply because everyone else including her step-siblings is going to be there. She meets up with one of her childhood friends, Khalil, and when shots break out he drives her home.

On the way home, a cop stops them. Starr knows what to do, as her parents already taught her about what to do if she was ever stopped by a cop while driving. Keep your hands in sight, no quick movements, and do everything they say without questioning them. Khalil’s mother was a drug addict, his father wasn’t in the picture, so he was raised mostly by his grandmother, and immediately Starr worried if he had been given the “talk” or not. Obviously, he hadn’t because immediately he was questioning the officer’s motives and interests in stopping them. Starr had heard rumors that he had been selling drugs, but when the cop first stopped them he to her that there was nothing in the car that could possibly incriminate them. When Khalil was told to get out of the car, he did so reluctantly, but when the cop turned around Khalil moved to ask Starr if she was okay. Before he could even finish his sentence, the cop shot him 3 times. Star ran out of the car to at least hold him while he died, but the cop kept his gun on her until the backup came. The ambulance saw that Khalil was dead and didn’t even pick his body up off the street immediately, just leaving him there to haunt Starr’s dreams.

Starr’s parents try to help her through the situation as best as they can, while at the same time keeping the details away from her 9-year-old brother who saw Khalil all the time. Khalil was almost another son to them, simply because he was around so much since his mom wasn’t at home. In the Garden, people are having protests/riots over his death. Starr wants to get up and say something like she told herself she would if something like this ever happened to her and she was a witness, but she is too afraid of being targeted for saying something. At Williamson, they barely know about Khalil, and so they don’t feel the emotional connection at all, nor do they actually go about the situations with the right attitudes. To them, its just another person, but to Starr, it was one of her few childhood best friends. She wants to tell the people at her school, even her boyfriend, that she was there, but she is afraid of how they might react, asking questions she isn’t ready to answer, or even how they might judge her. She struggles between doing what she wants to do, what she knows is right, and doing what is safest for her and even her family.

I think that this was one of the most relatable books that I have read all year. I was the same age as the main character, the same race, heck even my HAIR looks like hers in that picture (sometimes). Starr is quite a mature character. Even when her so-called friends are barely doing anything to try to understand what she might even possibly be going through, even if they didn’t know she was with him, and even with all of the craziness that was happening in both neighborhoods. She managed to keep her head above the water and power through, to try to get her friend justice. Eventually, some of her true friends show their colors, and help her through her rough situation, letting her know that she is not alone.

There is quite a bit of foul language and maybe 1-2 inappropriate scenes in this book, so it is definitely not for little kids. Middle schoolers may not even understand everything that is going on in the book. However, for high schoolers, especially those who have been seeing these unjustified shootings since we were in middle school (like me), this is a perfect book for the times and is a great read overall. I recommend to anyone over the age of 14-15. (I also heard something about a movie upcoming? If so, I advise you to snatch up this book while you can and read it so that you can be ahead of the game!)

Overall Rating: 6/5