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This Light Between Us

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,047 ratings  ·  267 reviews
A story of World War II about the unlikeliest of pen pals--a Japanese American boy and a French Jewish girl--as they fight to maintain hope in a time of war.

In 1935, ten-year-old Alex Maki from Bainbridge Island, Washington is disgusted when he's forced to become pen pals with Charlie Levy of Paris, France--a girl. He thought she was a boy. In spite of Alex's reluctance, t
ebook, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Tor Teen
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Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,047 ratings  ·  267 reviews

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4.5 stars!
This Light Between Us is a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of friendship and loss. I sobbed and I laughed. This book has left a mark on me and will be on my mind for a very long time.

The friendship between Alex and Charlie was so sweet and touching. They were each other’s rocks and comfort. Both characters were very well written and complex. You can’t help but root for them to meet. I really enjoyed the letters between them and watching their friendship blossom over the course of the y
Carole (Carole's Random Life)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a wonderful book. I happened on this book quite by chance but decided to give it a try and I am so glad that I did. I have read quite a few books set during World War II over the years and usually find them heartbreaking and powerful. This was a really unique story that really did grab me. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this powerful novel.

Alex and Charlie become pen pals when they are only 10 years old. Cha
Jessica | Booked J
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As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review and/or participation in the blog tour. This does not effect my opinion in any way. This does not effect my opinion in any way. Review also found here at Booked J.

How do you describe This Light Between Us? It's nearly impossible. I paused at my screen many times as I tried to bring forth the words to describe how reading this made me feel. Here's what I know: it
Jun 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is intended to attract a YA audience and I highly recommend it for that age group.
It is written with a YA reader in mind but I enjoyed it as well.

1935 – Ten year old Japanese American Alex Maki and Charlie Lévy a French Jewish girl living in Paris become pen-pals.
Their friendship grows over the years through the many, many letters exchanged each expressing deep private thoughts and feelings. Their letters are endearing and funny and full of the hopes and dreams of youth.

1941 –
● 4¼ STARS



If you like stories based on WWII then you should really read/listen to gave me some Between Shades of Gray vibes...although it didn't quite deliver the feels that BSOG did
Michelle Kenneth -

For those who love reading historical fiction especially from the WWII era, I highly recommend this book. Fukuda approaches this genre very differently. This story begins with two young children. One in Bainbridge Island, Washington and the other in Paris, France. As a school assignment, these two become pen pals. Alex Maki is disheartened to learn that his pen pal, Charlie Levy, is actually a girl. But for some reason, he decides to stick to his correspondence years later, even after
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been quite some time since I've read a historical fiction novel, but it's also been a long time since I've read one based in World War 2. Because there are so many WW2 novels I stopped reading them all together. When I was offered to read a book that covers the war, but also the Japanese internment camps and the all Japanese-American military unit called the 442nd (also known as the most decorated military unit of the United States with the most losses). This particular point in American hi ...more
Vicki (MyArmchairAdventures)
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Look for this gem to come out in January 2020 if you are a historical fiction fan. Though published by Tor Teen, THIS LIGHT BETWEEN US doesn’t read like a teen or YA book.

Though the WWII historical fiction genre seems over saturated, the unique slant in THIS LIGHT BETWEEN US kept me engaged. The start of the book dragged a bit but I think it was necessary to flush out the growing friendship between Japanese American Alex Maki, living on Brainbridge Island in Washington and his French pen pal Cha
Hannah Z

This is one of the books that everybody, especially Americans, should read at least once in their lifetime. I honestly wish that I could've read "This Light Between Us" during the time that I was reading "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. In my opinion, that would have been the perfect reading combination.

I don't usually read historical fiction, but as soon as I saw the cover and read the description, I knew that I had to read this book. The internment of Japanese Americans in the United Stat
Rebecca Grace ✨
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What 👏a 👏book👏

This could be my favorite book I've read this year. It deserves so much more attention because it is so well done and absolutely beautiful!

This Light Between Us is a story of Alex Maki, a Japanese American boy, as he navigates World War II. The book begins as he becomes pen pals with Charlie Levy, a Jewish girl living in France. Despite Alex's grumblings about sending letters to a girl, they quickly hit it off and become close friends. Their friendship is something that they lean
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Japanese American boy Alex Maki, and French Jewish girl Charlie Levy become best friends through their many years of writing pen-pal letters to one another. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, they fight to maintain hope during World War 2 as Alex and his family are placed in an internment camp and Charlie hides from the Nazi invaders. From the horrors of Auschwitz to the desolation of the internment camp to the European battlefields, nothing can dispel this light between them.

Obviously I’ve
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read many stories about WW11, but have never read one involving pen pals - Alex and Charlie. A wonderful story which was very well written. It was an emotional story and one that i will not forget any time soon. Recommended. I hope to read more by books by Andrew Fukuda.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy. This is my honest review, which i have voluntarily given.
LianaReads blog
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t usually read WW2 books but this one caught my attention and had to read it.
I can only tell you that it’s a great book with a beautiful story and heartbreaking at the same time.
Forced to become pen pals, a lifetime friendship develops between Alex and Charlie who is girl mischief to Alex’s dismay.
I loved how the author tells the story about what went before and after the Pearl Harbour incident and how we get a bit of insight into people’s lives having to go through those horrible situa
A beautiful story that manages to be both earnest and tough without getting overly sentimental. The story opens with Alex, a young Japanese-American boy living in Bainbridge Island in the 1930/40's, getting slightly miffed when he finds out that his assigned penpal, Charlie, is not in-fact a boy, but a young Jewish girl living in Paris. Although reluctant at first, Alex and Charlie begin a correspondence that lasts years. This part of the book was so affecting as Fukuda really captured the youth ...more
Niki (nikilovestoread)
When I'm reading historical fiction, I expect a realistic story set in history. I thought that was what I was getting with This Light Between Us. There was so much attention to detail and a really good story that deserves to be told more often. But, and it's a big but, I hate it when authors unexpectedly throw in some magical realism. I wish it was clear in the description of the book that elements like that are included. To come across them suddenly when I think I'm reading historical fiction p ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a spellbinding, heart wrenching book. Alex and Charlie are wonderful and unique characters that I loved. I felt like I was right there beside them the whole time, laughing at their letters and then crying as theirs lives plummeted into hell. The setting of this book, during WWII, was unique due to the fact it was not just about the act of fighting. While much of Charlie’s story was left to the imagination you still feel the anguish and pain you know she faced every day. The author wove ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-arc
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, what did I think?

This book starts off a little slow for me, but the author does it in order to establish the relationship between Alex and Charlie, Alex and his brother Frank, Alex and his father, Alex...well, you get the picture. The majority of the relationships are established at the beginning as well as the feeling of life before Pearl Harbor.

In order to establish the relationship between Alex and Charlie, the author st
Tasha Leigh
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, ebook
This novel was amazing. So much so that its midnight and I am frantically tapping out this review in the dark in a corner of my bedroom so as to not wake up the other inhabitants of my house - thank you to whoever invented backlit and quiet keyboards. It took me on an emotional rollercoaster that despite being extremely bumpy, I didn't want to leave until the ride was done. Even then I sat here like that cat Mittens in the meme where he has lost his toy under the fridge, staring at my ereader wo ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As part of a school assignment, a Japanese American boy becomes pen pals with a French Jewish girl.. Over the years, they become friends through their letters and eventually fall in love, but their dreams of meeting are put on hold by the war.

I had to read it because it's a WWII story, partly set in France. And it was fine. But I never got really invested in the characters.

I did appreciate the perspective of a Japanese American youth who was forced to leave his home for an internment camp. It
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lone star next year. I am surprised by this because I wouldn’t recommend this to a middle schooler. It isn’t inappropriate, it is just clearly written for adults. I’m not sure why it is marketed as YA except the main character starts out young. It isn’t what I expected at all. In many places it reminded me of narrative non-fiction. There is a lot of history here that I didn’t know. It was very well written and I liked it.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I've read others from this author so I went in to this thinking that I knew what level of enjoyment and engagement to expect. Instead, I was blown away. You can tell that this was a passion project from the author. At the end of the book he explains how it came into being and it made my enjoyment of the book increase. The research that went into it was extensive, as historical fiction should be, but it wasn't thrown in there just to tell stories. Each part built upo ...more
Danielle Zimmerman
THIS LIGHT BETWEEN US is a devastatingly beautiful and incredibly rich novel that captivated me from the moment I cracked it open. Centered upon two young people, one a French Jew and the other a Japanese American, as they come of age during a time of great turmoil. And where they’re seen as the enemy by those they considered their fellow countrymen and women. As World War II descends on their communities, they rely on each other for comfort and friendship through flurries of letters back and fo ...more
Robin McCarthy
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It should be read in schools. The history is spot on, which is important to me. Don't be on the train or waiting for your doctor appointment reading this to pass the time. You will end up crying in the bathroom. This is a book that will stick with me a long time. ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The author gives us two characters that are pen pals from Paris and Washington State. Charlie is a young Jewish girl, Alex a Japanese-American. As the story unfolds during WWII, we see how their lives change drastically and sometimes in shockingly similar ways. I have read books about the Japanese internment camps before. This one really painted a painful picture about what the US did to those who should not have been persecuted. While we mostly follow Alex, I feel th ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Macmillan and Netgalley for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this 1.7.20 release. Alex Maki, a Japanese American in Washington, and Charlie Levy, a Jewish girl from Paris, become pen pals when they are ten years old. They keep up communication into their teen years. When Alex’s family is taken into an internment camp, Charlie is fleeing for her life from the Nazis. Alex gets the chance to enlist in the war, and sets out with the hope of fi
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This book was received as an ARC from Macmillan-Tor/Forge - Tor Teen in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Surprisingly I really enjoyed this book and the message it sent throughout. For the YFiction category, this book has a very different vibe compared to other historical fiction novels. I loved the language used by Fukuda keeping the characters in teenage years using teenage language especially the conversation between Alex and
Jennifer Shanahan
This book was SO absolutely amazing that I could not put it down once I started it. Truly an epic story, one that will be with me for a long time. Alex is a Japanese American living in Washington state in 1935 when, at the age of 10, he is assigned a pen pal in Paris who turns out to be a Jewish French girl named Charley. Initially he is not thrilled that she is a girl but eventually, they get used to each other and write constantly, for many years. Alex and Charley get very close, best friends ...more
Kim Fox
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read numerous books about WWII, but this is the first one that included the Japanese-Americans that were placed in internment camps in this country. I was totally blown away by this authors ability to grab my heart and wring out every emotion possible. You see, I knew what America did to our own countrymen,but Mr.Fukada told this story in such a way that I felt shame, sadness, embarrassment, anger and bewilderment. The story of Charlie and Alix moved me so much that I would laugh and cry ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this amazingly well researched book, and couldn’t put it down. The author did an excellent job in his descriptions of what it was like for Japanese American citizens to be interned for no crime other than for their ancestry, and in describing the battles endured by the 442nd. He brilliantly fused together the prejudice experienced by both Parisian Jews and Japanese Americans and, I will have to say, I cried at the end. To read more of why this book deserved a 5 star rating, pl ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to love this book, and there are some things I did love about it. However, overall, it felt rough and Charlie's character seemed more like a stereotypical girly girl rather than a fully developed unique character.

It's an important story to tell, but this one could have used a little more fine-tuning.
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Born in Manhattan and raised in Hong Kong, Andrew Fukuda is half-Chinese, half-Japanese. After earning a bachelor's degree in history from Cornell University, Fukuda worked in Manhattan's Chinatown with the immigrant teen community. That experience led to the writing of Crossing, his debut novel that was selected by ALA Booklist as an Editor's Choice, Top Ten First Novel, and Top Ten Crime Novel i ...more

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