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The War Outside

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,847 ratings  ·  484 reviews
A novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal.

It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family inte
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Peter Quesnel It's totally appropriate for a YA book club. …moreIt's totally appropriate for a YA book club. (less)

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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  2,847 ratings  ·  484 reviews

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Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book for free from TheNovl in exchange for an honest review. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative.

Last month I read a different YA novel about German American internment and was beyond disappointed by it. When I saw that TheNovl was offering a chance to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity. Thankfully, The War Outside was a million times better than that other book I read.

This book was so heart wrenching and emotional. There w
Terrie's Just Another Book B*tch

First things first... I believe this is a book everyone should read and absorb. I think it should be on every school reading list. While it is fiction, it's based on enough fact that will catapult the reader back in time to a horrific, (and in this reader's opinion, an embarrassing time,) in US history where we made thousands upon thousands of Japanese Americans suffer for no other reason than racism. A heartbreaking read that opens yo
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
i've decided to change my rating for this to a solid 3 stars. the more i think about this book, the more i realize how mediocre it was for me?? it didn't stick in my mind afterwards, and i don't feel very strongly about it, even about the things i thought i liked.

The War Outside is a World-War-II-era historical fiction novel that talks about the intersecting experiences of two girls whose families are being held in Crystal City, an internment camp. i did like the premise for the novel! WW2 histo
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
I loved the premise, and parts of this novel felt all too relevant to our current politician climate (you know, since we’re once again holding families and children in camps in the US, which is...fucked up). But The War Outside never went far enough for me. So much of this stayed surface level and I wanted MORE. I wanted more of the budding romance between our two protagonists, more insight into daily life in the camp, and more of an actual plot so there was sufficient tension building to the bi ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm ashamed to say I had no clue about this dark piece of World War II history until I was around 22 years old.  When we learned about WWII in school, Japanese internment camps were never discussed in the text books or in the classroom.  
When I found out that over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry were taken from their homes and incarcerated under an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, I was stunned.  There was a lot of paranoia about foreign spies who could interfere with the
Keelin Rita
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer

Rounded up to a 4 because I want more people to read this. This is the story of two girls who are in an internment camp for enemies of the state during World War 2. One is German, the other Japanese and they build an unlikely friendship and closeness due to their circumstances. Why do I want people to read this? Well it's about a part of our history that we try to cover up. It's also a queer story which is covered up even more. People like to act like queer people weren't invented until the
Was going to rate this a 3 star until I got to the ending and it left me speechless. Did not see the ending coming and it made so much sense to me. I like this story because it was something different then what I have ever read about. It was about a Japanese American and German American girl whose family are sent to an internment Camp during WW2. It deals a lot with racism, friendship, family, etc.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
***2 1/2 to 3 stars.... can't decide. I'm torn between there***

So I wasn't in the mood to read and listen to any of the other two books I was already on and so I saw this audiobook available on the Libby App and I have to say this wasn't what I was expecting. It was an okay read/listen to for me. And despite being sick all week and now feeling MUCH BETTER I'm still surprised I made it through this in two days considering but that's also because I've been upping the speed on the app on my audiob
I received a copy of this book from The Novl in exchange for my honest review.

Ya'll, I love reading historical fiction, particularly if it's set in the WWII era. I just think there are so many stories left to tell about that time period and, especially as time goes on, it's particularly important to ensure everyone is educated on this history. After all, if we don't learn from it, history is doomed to repeat itself, and the way the world is going today . . . Well, this book is particularly relev
Ms. B
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two girls, Haruko and Margot become unlikely friends when both are sent with their families to an internment camp in Texas during World War II. Japanese-American Haruko is from Colorado; German-American Margot is from Iowa. What makes this one different from other World War II stories is not only does it take place in the United States, it is about German-Americans living in internment camps. (I did not know about this part of American history.)
The girls plot a future together after the War end
Jaye Berry
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, 2019, audiobook, ya
I don't know what I was thinking. When it comes down to it I just don't like books that take place during WWII but I figured, hey, I really liked this author's other book Girl in the Blue Coat so maybe I could like this one! I did not.

The War Outside is about two girls who meet in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for German and Japanese-Americans families that are accused of siding with the enemy in 1944. Haruko and Margot meet at the high school and learn they are complete opposites, bu
Emmi Rose  (emmirosereads)
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-reads
Thank you to TheNovl for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for a review

"I don't want you to ever forget where you are. You are a prisoner here. I don't care if you have a new friend, or if there's a school newspaper, or if there are books in the new library, or if there are community picnics. Or if there's a football team everyone comes out to cheer for. At the end of the day you're a prisoner in the only way that matters. If our family wanted to leave they wouldn't let you."

If this review
Kath (Read Forevermore)
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews, 2018-arcs
An arc of this book was sent to me by The NOVL/Little Brown Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rating: 4.5/5

The War Outside is a heartbreaking historical fiction that highlights one of the darkest times in US history. It tells the story of two friends in internment camps used by the US during WWII, who are conflicted and struggle with trust, love, and finding a place for themselves in a cruel world.

This story follows two friends, Japanese-America
Kamis Gardner

I didn't love this book as much as Hesse's debut novel. I was really interested to read it, because it deals with internment camps, and that's something I haven't read a lot on dealing with WWII. However, things just fell a little flat for me. I feel like there was so much more that could have been done here and wasn't.

We got a little glimpse of life in the interment camp, but not enough to really know what it was like, which was disappointing because that's what I was most looking forward t
Maria Carmo
Intense sad and compelling. The research about the internment camps in the US during the second world war ended up in this excellent and touching book about two fictional characters, but in the end there is enough information to prove that many of the details that come up through the story are real and can easily be found online. I know, because I did that before I ended the book and found the extra information included by the Author, and immediately found a trove of data about Cristal City and ...more
Great read! I think I liked her book, The Girl in the Blue Coat, better, but this was still enjoyable.
Unfortunately, for me, The War Outside failed to carry the same character development and emotional depth of her first book, Girl in the Blue Coat. However, this is an important addition to any library young adult collection, as it focuses on the dark period in American history where the US government forcibly removed German-American, Japanese-Americans, and Italian-Americans from their homes and sent them to internment camps.
Alex  Baugh
It's August 1944 when Haruko Tanaka, 17, her sister Toshiko, 12, and her mother have just arrived at the Crystal City Internment Camp, in Texas to join their father. They haven't seen Ichiro Tanaka, in five months, not since the government came and removed him from their home, accusing him of passing secrets to the Japanese through his night job at a hotel in Denver, Colorado. Living in Denver, the Tanaka's weren't interned, unlike the people living on the western coast of the United States. Sho ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ages 11+

All of a sudden I am on a huge historical fiction kick, especially World War II historical fiction. I know, so out of character. So when I saw this ARC up on Edelweiss, I thought I'd give it a click. Apparently, the author has written two other really popular books? (I am SO out of the loop.) Quick, interesting, lovely, with characters that jumped off the page and a very realistic almost-romance. Also heartbreakingly showed how small moments can destroy or derail lives, especially during
Paige Green
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from TheNovl! Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Rating: 5/5

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, bombs, war, prejudice, Nazism, and consequences)

Pages: 336

Author Website

Amazon Link

Synopsis: It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

This was a fantastic historical fiction read that highlighted a dark part of US History and did so with grace and intensity. While it focuses on the internment camps developed and used by the US government during WWII, it also takes readers on a quiet journey between two friends (maybe more?) who struggle with trust, love, and finding a place for themselves. Highly reco
Melanie Dulaney
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Monica Hesse gives readers of historical fiction a look at a lesser known chapter in the story of WWII, stateside. Most are familiar with the harsh treatment of Japanese immigrants and Americans of Japanese descent, but few are likely to know of the camp in Crystal City, TX where thousands of Japanese and German families were incarcerated as so-called enemy aliens. Hesse uses the characters of Japanese Haruko and German Margot to weave a story of an unlikely and secret friendship between the two ...more
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 two high school aged girls: Margot from Iowa, whose parents were born in Germany; Haruko from Colorado, her parents were born in Japan. They meet in 1944 at an interment camp in Texas. Their secret friendship bonds them together and leads to their lives changing forever. They live in a prison, regardless of how you might sugarcoat the camp. The story is revealed through the two voices of Haruko and Margot. They are superbly drawn characters; writing style enjoyable and allowed this story to ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good story. We don’t get a lot of stories about these interment camps during WWII. Left me with a lot to think about.
Melissa (YA Book Shelf)
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this novel about a Japanese-American teen and a German-American teen who are both in an internment camp for enemy aliens with their families. Lots of stuff happens, and the sexual tension between these two girls was palpable. Must read.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would like more contemporary historical fiction pls. Full review to come!
*Minor spoilers ahead*

“It’s funny the things you can leave out. It’s funny the way you can paint a picture that is both completely true and the falsest thing in the world.”

This book was sad. Really, really sad. Like “sucking all the hope and happiness out of the world sad.” Or at least, that’s how it felt to me.
I liked this book, but not as much as Girl in the Blue Coat. And I’m sorry to say that I was a bit disappointed.

Nevertheless, this book showed me an aspect of the Second World War that I
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Horror grows out of humanity. If you are paying attention, it always starts small. We all tell the versions we wish were true."



First, this book means a lot to me. I am not Japanese nor am I German. My family comes from Italy and a couple Eastern European countries. I have never been forced to live in an internment camp. I have never been the subject of accused allegations by my government nor have I known anyone personally who has had that happen. I consider myself lucky that I do not liv
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The War Outside is a unique, compelling story about life during WWII that has never been told.

Margot and Haruko have been uprooted from their lives along with their families. WWII is raging, and these families have been taken to a Family Internment Camp in Texas because their fathers have been accused of spying for the enemies.

Based on true events, this camp was the only one of its type in the country. Both Japanese and German families were sent here. The two teens’ friendship is unlikely, since
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Young Adult Conte...: #50 The War Outside by Monica Hesse 1 6 Dec 23, 2018 09:27AM  

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Monica Hesse is the national bestselling author of the true crime love story American Fire, and the historical mystery novel Girl in the Blue Coat, which has been translated into a dozen languages and won the 2017 Edgar award in the Young Adult category. She is a feature writer for the Washington Post, where she has been a winner of the Society for Feature Journalism's Narrative Storytelling award ...more

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