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The War Outside

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  104 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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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 your eye
madeline h. ✶ (semi hiatus)
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
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
Kath (Read Forevermore)
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-arcs, reviews
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
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
Alex (not a dude) 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
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Monica Hesse is truly a name to look for in YA historical fiction. She has definitely found a way to immerse the reader into another era with captivating and mysterious characters and circumstances. I've noticed that historical fiction is often overlooked in YA, but Hesse certainly makes it come alive. I found I had a few issues with this particular one, but Hesse is still a name that you need to look for if you're looking to expand your books into HF.

This story takes us into World War II, and w
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
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 live
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-audiobooks
There is a book called Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse that I absolutely loved, so I was stoked when I was sent a copy of her new book to read and review. While I did receive the ARC, since it was already released by time I got to reading it, I ended up listening to the audiobook instead. The War Outside is a YA historical fiction book set in America in World Word II. While I didn't absolutely love The War Outside, I thought it was a really great story and I enjoyed it. There were a few ti ...more
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
Kam 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
Kelly Hager
This is an incredibly powerful book about a part of the country's history that is generally glossed over. As most of us know, there were internment camps during World War II for Japanese-American residents. What you may not know (I didn't) is that some citizens of German descent were also there. And "camps" is a nice way of saying "prisons." (They weren't starved and at this particular camp, people were treated fairly well. But it's still not great and it's still not something we should be proud ...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
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Scary, sad, sweet, I feel like I use these descriptions all the time. I have never read a YA fiction book about the internment camps before. This book follows two young women who develop a strong friendship (and maybe more?) over the course of their time in the camp.

It's impossible to not notice the everyday restrictions the families face, and yet, unlike the death camps in Europe, life continues with high schools, working, streets, swimming pools. This is not to say that they are not a stain on
Adriana (SaltyBadgerBooks)
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, arc
Not 100% set on my rating on the book.

Not my favorite WWII book... it just felt lacking... I couldn't connect with the characters and felt like they annoyed me sometimes. The concept was interesting, and I do like how everything wrapped itself up in the end, but the most part I'm not sure how I felt.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book!! And I genuinely didn't expect to love this as much as I did - I read a book by this author before and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did this one. This completely blew my expectations away!! It is masterfully written! World War II is certainly an era that has inspired so much great fiction, but is an era that can be hard to add anything to it in a fresh and meaningful way. And this book completely accomplishes that!

The alien enemy camp of Crystal City, Texas
Karen Raskin
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, on the verge of rounding up but deciding against it. Compelling story and history behind it. But somehow wanted more...
Kelly Long
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read an ARC copy of this book. 3.5☆ rounded up.
The Blonde Bookworm
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Title: The War Outside

Author: Monica Hesse

Pages: 336

Publishing: September 25th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: A stunning novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal from Monica Hesse, the Edgar Award-winning and bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat

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
Sixteen year old Margot is living in Iowa in 1944. Since her family is German, they are accused of being an enemy of the state and sent to a family internment camp in Crystal City, Texas that houses both the Germans and Japanese. She worries about her mom who is several months pregnant. In order to belong, her father feels like he must join the group of Nazis who are forming in the camp. Margot chooses to attend the National High School instead of the German school which is being run by uncertif ...more
Danny Kown
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
I absolutely loved this book, and was hooked from the moment I read it. The deterioration of Haruko and Margot’s short lived friendship absolutely broke my heart, and I was hoping for a happy ending, but they’ll never see each other again. Huge praise to Monica Hesse for writing such a great book shining a light on the US internment camps. I can’t recommend The War Outside enough, because you can relate with Haruko or Margot. I can’t wait for what Monica Hesse writes next.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewers
This book was really really really really really good. You get to see how the internment camps change the characters as well as the dynamic of life inside the camps. I enjoyed this book more than girl in the blue coat which was also written by Monica Hesse. Similar to the girl in the blue coat, Monica Hesse lets you think you understand what is happening but then in the last few pages of the book, reveals that something big that you believed was untrue. It leaves you at the end of the book still ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from @thenovl in exchange for an honest review.

I don't read many historical fiction but this book was remarkable. There was so much emotion written into this book. As I read Margot and Harukos story I couldn't put it down. Two teens that come from opposite sides that are now living in an internment camp form a secret friendship. Hartbreaking details of their day to day life, struggles and how a blossoming friendship may change their lifes. Family, trust, friendship, humanity w
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, physical-2018
My emotions are shredded. I'm currently lacking the ability to convey how much I loved this and how it burrowed into my heart. This will be tough to recover from.



Full review can be found here:

**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The comments and thoughts found within this review are my own.**

I am quickly finding my groove within historical fiction. Before I shied away from them and now I am seeking them
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
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This was okay. I really wanted to like it more than I did. More thoughts to come
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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