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This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  52 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 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  78 ratings  ·  52 reviews


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Jessica | Booked J
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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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 is
...more
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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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: arcs, 5-stars
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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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
...more
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
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
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
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
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
In school many of us were probably matched up with a pen pal, usually from a different country, in an effort to get to know another culture better. I think the class I was in were matched up with kids from Indonesia (being one of our closest neighbours here in Australia), and I don’t think I got more than one letter back – no surprises there, as my Indonesian was woeful (they had to write to us in English, we had to write to them in Indonesian).

In this book we have a young girl, Charlie Lévy of
...more
Sandra
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Description from the Publisher:
"For readers of The Librarian Of Auschwitz, This Light Between Us is 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 and standing in the windswept plains where over ten thousand internees were once imprisoned, their voices cut off. I remember how much I wanted to write a story that did right by them. Hopefully
...more
Tasha Leigh
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, arc
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
Kathleen Johnson
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
Where do I begin... First let me dry my tears.
1935- Alex Maki and Charlie Levy are paired up by their teachers for a class project. They are to be international pen-pals. No one is more surprised than Alex when he finds out his pen-pal is a GIRL!! Charlie, on the other hand, remains enthusiastic and convinces Alex to keep writing.
As years pass, their friendship grows. The world is changing around them. By nature of their birth, both Alex Maki and Charlie Levy will be forced to experience the
...more
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
...more
Brooke Lorren
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
War is hell.

This is what Alex and Charley find out during World War II. They become pen pals as children, and continue to write as war breaks out. The worst part of their situations: Alex is a second-generation Japanese American, and Charley is a Jew in France. The Japanese, if you were remember your history, were rounded up and put into camps... and the Jews of Europe were rounded up and put into a more lethal kind of camp.

This book is an important book historically. It's important to never
...more
Diana
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, diverse-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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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
Lila Richardson
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
I read a book a year or two ago about a girl in a Japanese internment camp during WWII and it painted a very different picture about what life was like in these camps. I don't remember if she was in Manzanar, like Alex was in this book, but I feel more inclined to believe this book. This book dove farther into the unfair treatment and the racism that Japanese Americans faced in these camps.

This story is essentially divided into three parts--Alex's life immediately before and after the Pearl
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Kerri Adams
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an ARC from Netgallery and MacMillan Tor/Forge for my honest review. If I could I would have rated it 4.5 stars.

This was an unexpected pleasure to read. Knowing this was written by a YA author, it was not clear to me if this was a YA book or not at the beginning. I still don't honestly know as this is a book EVERYONE can learn from and enjoy. Its hard to use the word "enjoy" when it comes to hard subjects like WW2, but I mean a book that makes you care, pulls you in.

The
...more
S. Smith
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This young adult tale of World War II follows Japanese-American Alex Maki from boyhood to wartime combat and heartbreak, beginning at age 10 in 1935 when Alex discovers to his disgust that his assigned overseas pen pal, an exuberant Parisian named Charlie Levy, is a girl. Unexpectedly the Alex-Charlie correspondence endures for years, eventually becoming a deep long-distance friendship and perhaps true love. The emotional link between the pair remains strong, even when letters become rare to ...more
Erikka
This was quite good. I loved that there were many ways the story could have gone, which rendered it somewhat unpredictable. I love that it was not fluffy or “happily ever after” at any point in the story. War is hell and this book embraced that completely. I also really liked our two MCs, even though one is only met through letters. The alignment of two internees in two separate WWII camps, which of course draws the “were the two sides really so different?” comparisons, as well as the inclusion ...more
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
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
Bethany
I got about 30% of the way in before DNF'ing.

I have a small contingent of teen boys at my library who love male, soldier, action, war stories. I thought this would fit that bill. But nope. Perhaps it does, later on, but when teen boys, you have to grab them in the first chapter, and The Light Between Us does not do that. It open with two ten year pen pals conversing, then jumps about four years in the future. Charlie and Alex are still pen pals, but everything is still very calm in tone and
...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
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
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
...more
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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