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We Are Not Free

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  22 reviews
All around me, my friends are talking, joking, laughing. Outside is the camp, the barbed wire, the guard towers, the city, the country that hates us. 

We are not free. 

But we are not alone.  

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. 

Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. 

Fourteen teens whose
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.53  · 
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Kat Cho
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Truly a beautiful book! I am so emotional right now and I'm definitely going to have to re-read it because there was so much to take in. It really reminds me of the vibe the Outsiders had in how it represents a close-knit friend group (that's more like family).

A powerful and heartbreaking look into history. We Are Not Free compels us to face the reality that when fear guides us, our humanity suffers.
Tara Sim
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant and necessary book.
Cindy ✩☽♔
Oct 13, 2019 marked it as to-read
OMG I have always wanted a book centered around this time in American history. I look forward to reading this!
♠ TABI ♠
Oct 25, 2019 marked it as to-read
I already love this
Erin Kelly
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Yingling
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Absolutely fascinating coverage of Japanese teenagers in internment camps during WWII. I loved the inclusion of pictures and pages from camp newspaper. Unfortunately, there were some F-bombs several chapters in, and the narrative switched from person to person, which my students sometimes have trouble following. I would definitely buy this for a high school, but will pass for middle school.
Jana (HokuGirlReads)
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am sitting here in a book hangover/shock. This was such a great book but a very heavy and hard to read book due to the what the characters went through. I think this is a very important book for people to read and wish it was around when I was a teen in school learning about WW2. If you read this book be sure to read the authors note, it is a important part of the book in my opinion. I am sure I will have more to say when I have processed this book fully, but in the mean time heres the start ...more
Jan 16, 2020 marked it as might-read
Shelves: has-asian-rep
* I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest review.

🌻 Pre-order links: Amazon | Book Depository

🌻 My links: Blog | Instagram | Twitter
Traci Chee pulls from extensive research and her own family history to craft an immersive, authentic novel of the forced removal of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II. Chees decision to have readers experience the novel through the eyes of 14 friends (most of whom are from the same Japantown neighborhood in San Francisco) could have resulted in a confusing, snarled-up mess. Instead, the unique events that each of these teens experience allow readers to get a ...more
Debbi Florence
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(I read a galley provided by the publisher.) These interconnected stories told from the POV of the Japanese American young people interned during WWII are a must read. I couldn't put this book down - I cringed, smiled, and sobbed as I followed the characters through their journeys. I fell in love with each and every one of them. I will be buying multiple copies of this book when it releases. Chee is an incredibly gifted author. I loved this book!
Oct 16, 2019 added it
An exceptionally powerful book. A must read for 2020.
It's sooooo close to being a 5-star book! And I'm in love with the message it sends, how the book is organized, and the interlocking stories that pace the book out but also reveal a deeper, emotional layer that can be dissected over multiple readings of the book. Where it feel down was the last third of the book-- I felt somewhat distracted by some of the last characters of the story that took away from my intense connection with the "main characters" introduced toward the beginning of the ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The bombing of Pearl Harbor changed the trajectory of World War II, and the effect it had on the Japanese-American community on the West Coast of the US was incredibly devastating. Ripped from their homes, Japanese-Americans (including US citizens whose only home was here) were stripped of their liberty and freedoms. We Are Not Free follows a group of 14 teenagers from San Francisco and what they and their families endured as they were incarcerated and faced constant indignities and injustices ...more
A Lib Tech Reads
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed

We Are Not Free
Rating: 3.5/5
Note:Special thanks to Raincoast Books for providing a copy for review. My thoughts are also posted on the Palmer Library review blog.

This is an important story and you should read it whether I rated it 5 stars or not.

To many teenagers, going through high school is difficult enough. Now, imagine living part of your teen/childhood years in detention centres after being forced out of your own home, and not really knowing why people look down on you and harass you
Karlyn Leslie
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This transformative story shines a light on the U.S. Governments decision to incarcerate Japanese-Americans in internment camps in response to Pearl Harbour. Chee chose to focus on the perspectives of Japanese teens who were taken so suddenly from their homes, and each of their experiences on the inside. I think this is an important story. It was well researched by the author, and given her personal family connections to this point in history, the voices feel authentic. Chees integration of ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't think I've ever read a fiction book which tells the story of the internment of Japanese Americans in the US following the bombing of Pearl Harbour during WWII. This is undoubtedly a very important book and it is clear that the author has thoroughly researched the time period and the experiences of people who lived through this horrific and tragically ignored period of history. Whilst I did appreciate the author's attempts at showing the vast and differing experiences of individuals, I ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Still timely and relevant, this YA historical fiction, told from 14 different Japanese American teens was both engrossing and riveting. Depicting one of the most shameful periods of our countrys history, based on lies and stoked by racial fear, the story advanced in time, as each teen described what was happening. Starting from the fear after Pearl Harbor, to being forcibly removed from their homes, and incarcerated into detention centers, and fighting for their country or whether to be ...more
Deborah Hightower
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2020
Thank you NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for the ARC of We Are Not Free by Traci Chee in return for an honest review. This historical fiction story was told through the stories of fourteen friends that grew up in Japantown, San Francisco. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, their Japanese American families were uprooted from their homes and put in concentration camps. The stories told are raw and strong with emotion showing the racism and injustices these families faced. I would ...more
Christina Soontornvat
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am going to be thinking about this book for a very long time. Hats off to Traci Chee, who manages to tell this story using so many different narrators, and making each one feel like a close friend. This is a fresh, necessary, raw account of the Japanese American incarceration. I so sharply felt the injustice, anger, sadness, hope, determination, and love by experiencing it through these young characters. This is a must read and more relevant now than ever.
Kim Baccellia
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fourteen friends who grew up together in Japantown, San Francisco find themselves and their families sent off to incarceration during WWII. Each of them have their own stories. Stories that show the pain, racism, and fear they feel being uprooted from their homes. But it's also a story with joy, laughter, and the power of friendship.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredible and necessary story - it fills a void for this age group and does so with aplomb. Loved the distinct POVs and tangible sense of place/location.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
A beautifully written story. Many perspectives are used but they're kept chronological, which is interesting. I haven't come across other YA books on this subject, and certainly none as compelling. I will be purchasing this for my public library.
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Traci Chee is an author of YA fiction. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at bonsai gardening, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small ...more

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