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This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  54 reviews
From award-winning YA author Andrew Fukuda comes The Light Between Us, a powerfully affecting 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.

"I remember visiting Manzanar Camp in California and standing in the windswept plains where over ten thousand internees were
...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Tor Teen
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  84 ratings  ·  54 reviews


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Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
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.
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Jessica | Booked J
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blog | Twitter | Instagram

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 is
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Michelle Kenneth - PerfectionistWannabe.com
Excellent.

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
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Vicki (MyArmchairAdventures)
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
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Hazel
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars, arcs
WOW.

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
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Simone
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jeanette
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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Toni
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sarah
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Tasha Leigh
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mindy
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...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 ...more
Tiffany
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Carli
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 finding
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Meghan
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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Jennifer Shanahan
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Alma
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, ...more
Kay  (mamabear_reads)
This is not normally the type of book I would pick up.
As soon as I started reading this I couldn't put it down and stayed up way later than I should have trying to finish it.
This was such a compelling emotional story about Alex and Charlie becoming pen pals when they are only 10 years old. Charlie is a Jewish girl living in Paris with her family. Alex is a Japanese American boy at a time when being of Japanese descent is more than just a little difficult. We get to know Charlie and Alex through
...more
CR
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very heart breaking story of two young people that come together in a time when horrors were lived through that no one ever should have had to do so. This is such a hard title to tell you about my love for it. It was a wonderful must read historical fiction of 2020 and I couldn't put it down. I think that the author did a wonderful job with painting a tale centered around the time of WWII. I think those who loved the Book Thief and others like it would love this one.
Mindy
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 ...more
Laura
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story of a friendship born through years of being pen pals. Alex is Japanese and lives on Bainbridge Island near Seattle. Charlie lives in Paris and is Jewish.

As teens, they are both thrown into miserable circumstances due to WWII. Yet, a connection remains strong between them.

Definitely a compelling read.
Sari
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a digital advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited when I got the notification that I would be reviewing this book. I was completely hooked from the synopsis and I couldn’t wait to dive in. This book is so full of emotions. I felt absolutely everything. I felt sadness, anger, happiness, bewilderment, and embarrassment. Even though it was an emotional read, it wasn't overly sentimental.

I read a ton of historical fiction and I
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Louise Emerson
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Alex is an American-Japanese, Charlie is a French Jew. Before the war Charlie and Alex became Pen pals.. Over the years the two developed a firm, close friendship despite never meeting.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the Japanese American were frowned upon and all had to leave their homes. They lived in a small room but were able to work for money.

However the time came when Japanese-American soldiers were needed to help in the war and it doesn't take much persuasion from Alex to join.
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Shelby Bollen
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
If you are on the hunt for a heart-wrenching historical fiction based on World War II then look no further. This follows a Japanese-American young boy living in America at the beginning of the second world war and he is assigned a pen pal named Charlie, who is a young Jewish girl living in Paris. It starts off with their initial letters and then you get to experience their maturation and development alongside the tragic events of war.
It's heart-breaking and so terribly sad - a beautifully
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Risa
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Harrowingly beautiful, brutal, full of life and death, friendship and love and brotherhood, The Light Between Us was a substantial read that brought tears to my eyes. The injustice and cruelty at the hands of humans to other humans—the switch from kind to cruel in the throes of war and fear really jar ones fate—that no one should be put to test. Loved the comradery that fuelled the search of one man’s quest for someone lost to war!

Special thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for this review
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Stevie
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-s, arcs, 2019
I found the premise of this story fascinating, possibly because I had an overseas penpal as a kid. The pace of this book dragged on. It felt like nothing happened for the first half, and that includes the attack on Pearl Harbor. It reads more like a MG novel than a YA novel, which is fine, but it should be marketed as such. Overall, I'm left unsatisfied.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen books for an Advanced Reader Copy.
Teresa
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book, heart breaking yet uplifting.
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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 ...more