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by Thompson, Holly

Format: Kindle Book 2011
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Winner of the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult LiteratureAn ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults BookAfter a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In Manhattan, Kanako Goldberg says she is Japlish, part Russian Jewish, part Japanese, and she tries hard to make it into her eighth-grade's in-crowd. Then Ruth, a bipolar classmate, hangs herself, and Kanako's parents send her to spend the summer working on her grandparents' fruit farm in a Japanese village, where she confronts her guilt about following her bitchy classmate's behavior, and she talks to Ruth in her head. The story is purposive, and readers may be slowed by the long, detailed passages about local culture. But Kanako's urgent teen voice, written in rapid free verse and illustrated with occasional black-and-white sketches, will hold readers with its nonreverential family story. Kanako's bossy grandmother is no sweet comfort, always nagging Kanako about her big butt, but she does give good advice about comforting friends back home. The spare poetry about place ( silent / as the night shadow / climbs Mount Fuji ) mixes with jokes about giving spirits GPS-activated cell phones, and readers will want to talk about the big issues, especially the guilt of doing nothing.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Writing in free verse, Thompson (Ash) eloquently captures a teenager's anger, guilt, and sorrow after a classmate takes her own life. Weeks after Ruth, a bullied eighth-grader, hangs herself in an orchard, the girls who tormented her scatter in different directions, "like beads/ from a necklace/ snapped." Against her wishes, Kana is sent to stay with relatives in her mother's homeland of Japan. Although she's a misfit, with half-Jewish genes and a curvy figure, she is accepted by her extended family and gradually adjusts to the routines and rigors of farm life at her uncle's home. Conciliation doesn't necessarily come through words, but through small gestures of kindness and understanding, brought to life in Thompson's understated yet potent verse. McFerrin's spot illustrations of Japanese imagery (Mount Fuji, origami birds, lanterns) appear intermittently, but feel extraneous and a bit juvenile given the subject matter. Written from Kana's point of view and directed toward Ruth, the novel-moving between Kana's flashbacks, reflections, and moments of discovery-effectively traces her emotional maturation as her desire to move forward is rekindled. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Young Adult Literature
Young Adult Fiction
Publisher Random House Children's Books2011
Language English
ISBN 9780375898341