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The Blossom and the Firefly

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  23 reviews
From the award-winning author of Flygirl comes this powerful WWII romance between two Japanese teens caught in the cogs of an unwinnable war, perfect for fans of Salt to the Sea , Lovely War , and Code Name Verity .

Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for
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Published February 18th 2020 by Penguin Teen
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Sophie_The_Jedi_Knight Hana is 15, Taro is 17. It sort of reads like romance, but I honestly think that it could read as just an intense bond between two people. There's…moreHana is 15, Taro is 17. It sort of reads like romance, but I honestly think that it could read as just an intense bond between two people. There's nothing beyond kissing.(less)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
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Bridget
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If I was to sum this up in one word, that word would have to be the word stunning. A gloriously atmospheric, melancholic dive into a world we never see portrayed, the world of the women who cared for and loved the Japanese pilots as they set off to sacrifice themselves in war. This is the story of a pilot and a young high school student, their lives disrupted by a war not of their making, and their gradual realisation that small kindnesses have a lasting effect. That their short lives are to be ...more
C.P. Cabaniss
"Because some moments can never have an after, no matter how much we want what might have been."


I don't think I've ever read a historical fiction novel about Japan, so I was very curious to see what this would be like. In many ways, it was quite beautiful. I liked the characters and the nonlinear aspect of the story structure. The writing was a little stilted for me and never drew me in or gave me the emotional connection with the characters that I'm always looking for.

An interesting look at
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Eva B.
Jan 18, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
*Sees Code Name Verity and Salt To The Sea as comp titles*
*Adds immediately*
Andi
Dec 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
Received this ARC from my local library. Review to come.
Eva
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful story. Well written. You can really tell the author did her research. Would reccomend it to teens and adults that like historical fiction!
Meg at
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.” -Pablo Casals
The Blossom and the Firefly is a poignant story about two young lives that are swept up in the turmoil of WWII in Japan. Sherri L. Smith creates such a beautiful tale, both elegantly written and executed, it will no doubt become a timeless classic for any age.

I was swept away by Sherri L. Smith. The Blossom and the Firefly gives a voice to two young adults on the other side of the ocean during the lead-up and
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Ms. Yingling
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by Follett First Look



Taro is born to a middle class family in Japan, and takes to the violin at a very early age. Hana is the daughter of tailors who live in Chiran, on Kyushu. Her father goes off to fight in the war, and her mother is left to carry on with the business. Taro ends up in flight training, like most young men his age in the early 1940s, and eventually ends up at an air base near Hana, destined to be a kamikaze, or tokko, pilot. Hana's school stops teaching, and after
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Don
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Releases in February of 2020, I have read an advance reader copy from the publisher. I requested the ARC after hearing so much about this YA book. My first read by author Sherri Smith, it won’t be my last. Exceptional research, story and character development. Set in Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a body-crash (kamikaze) pilot. Hana was almost killed in a bomb raid. They both believe they are meant to die. Then they find each other. Amazing storytelling.
Kip
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning. Get the tissues ready for this one.
Jennifer
Received advanced reader copy from publisher via Baker & Taylor book supplier

Taro is a talented violinist but his father continually tells him that Japan needs pilots not musicians. So, Taro enlists in the military, trains to be a pilot, and prepares himself to die for his country. Hana hasn’t been the same since her friends pulled her from a trench after she was buried alive during a bombing. Then, as she serves at the local air base, sending pilots to the sky with bows and cherry
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Lisa Mandina
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was definitely intrigued by the historical aspect of this that is not often found in YA books, at least not that I’ve noticed. At first the jumping from character to character and going back in time for Taro’s part of the story kept me flipping back to figure out where I was, but I soon understood and was able to dive into the story. I was also lucky that we ended up with a snow day the week I chose to read this, because I got to spend my snow day reading and finishing the story.

There was so
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Beverly
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Blossom and the Firefly is the poignant and heartbreaking tale of Hana and Taro, two young souls who meet on the edge of life and death in the final days of World War II.

Hana should have died, but now she serves the Tokko pilots, young men, barely out of boyhood who are dedicated to serving their country and Emperor with everything, including their lives. Taro has two different dreams, one of a life of music, while the other demands he honor is family's legacy and become a pilot.

Smith
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Alex
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel was pure perfection for so many reasons. There are two main characters, Hana and Taro. The novel flips from Hana’s perspective to Taro’s perspective. So, this isn’t just a “girl” book or a “boy” book. It was moving to read about Hana’s roles and thoughts during WWII in Japan and then read Taro’s love and desire to play music but being forced to be a kamikaze pilot. And, to add to that, the author did a tremendous amount of research, so the novel is extremely accurate.

What I also
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Sharon
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting and different perspective on World War II. Told from the Japanese point of view, two teenagers deal with the disruption in their lives. Smith has done a large amount of research to come up with the story. Hana, a school girl, is pulled out of school to go work on a sweet potato farm, where she survives a bomb attack. She moves from there to become a maid at a military base serving the pilots being trained to become body crashers or kamikaze pilots. Taro is a talented violinist, ...more
Carli
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

/5 for this 2.18.20 release. It is a devastatingly beautiful, sad, and lyrical story of love found during war. Tato has given his life as a tokku- Samurai pilot. His last stop before he “body crashes” is where he comes across Hana, schoolgirl whose class helps care for the pilots during their last days. Music unites them, and as his days grow numbered, the two find a connection they never
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Elizabeth
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5
I got this as an ARC from my school library, which is cool. Never received an ARC before! I'm not a big historical fiction person (ironic? Or fitting?), and I'm over all the WWII novels, but this was intriguing as it took place in Japan. Even knowing Japanese mentality, this book humanized and made some of the realities of Japanese militarism more...real. The writing itself is good. I felt more of a historical interest than an attachment to the characters or love story so it wasn't the gut
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Ginette Rossi
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eva Grade 6

The novel, "The Blossom and the Firefly" by Sherri L. Smith, expertly encompasses the beauty and terror that comes with hoping. The book is about a love story between kamikaze pilot Taro, and an introspective woman named Hana. I loved the writing in this book as well as the overall heart-breaking story. The novel is set in Japan during World War II, which made me realize that there are more than two sides to a war, and certainly more that two stories. I would recommend this book to
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Patti Sabik
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
3.5 Although this book started out slowly for me and was pretty quiet the whole way through, it ended really well so I'm giving it and extra .5. I wanted so much to love this book since I've enjoyed other titles by Sherri L. Smith and so have my students. There was excellent information on kamikaze fighters and their role in the war so I'd recommend the book for that face alone.
Sophie_The_Jedi_Knight
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads, owned, arcs
*3.75

That last line got me.
Jhoanna
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Carolyn Rice
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really well researched. Gives a good insight into Japanese culture. I just didn’t fall in love with the characters
Alex
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel was pure perfection for so many reasons. There are two main characters, Hana and Taro. The novel flips from Hana’s perspective to Taro’s perspective. So, this isn’t just a “girl” book or a “boy” book. It was moving to read about Hana’s roles and thoughts during WWII in Japan and then read Taro’s love and desire to play music but being forced to be a kamikaze pilot. And, to add to that, the author did a tremendous amount of research, so the novel is extremely accurate.

What I also
...more
Melissa Cheresnick
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Sherri L. Smith is the award-winning author of YA novels LUCY THE GIANT, SPARROW, HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET, FLYGIRL and ORLEANS. In October 2015, she makes her middle grade debut with THE TOYMAKER’S APPRENTICE from G.P. Putnam and Sons for Penguin Random House.

Sherri has worked in film, animation, comic books and construction. Her books have been listed as Amelia Bloomer, American Library Association
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