This book is a knockout. Hirahara, author of three different series set in contemporary Los Angeles and Hawaii, has turned her eye to 1944 and the plight of American born Japanese, as well as first generation immigrants, right after Pearl Harbor. It is still shocking to me that we created internment camps for Japanese citizens who were simply going about their daily lives. Hirahara brings it home by focusing intimately on one family, the Itos.
The Itos – parents and daughters Rose and Aki – are hardworking, successful citizens. Mr. Ito manages a produce market and Rose and eventually Aki work there too. Rose is the star, the center of the family. Aki looks up to her and wishes she had her strength. This book could simply be the story of Aki discovering that strength in herself, but it is so much more.