We Are Not Free

We Are Not Free

eBook - 2020
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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
PRINTZ HONOR BOOK
WALTER HONOR BOOK

From New York Times best-selling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes We Are Not Free, the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II.

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 lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps.

In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.

Publisher: HMH Books

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sjpl_rebekah Jan 25, 2021

Dare I say it, but in my mind this is a nearly flawless work of historical fiction. It’s been a long time since a book has made me cry (ok, maybe not that long) and this one did me in. It is SO well written, with the many POVs skillfully woven together to create a comprehensive and heartbreaking depiction of life for Japanese-Americans following the bombing at Pearl Harbor in 1941. I don’t think the treatment of Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during the years following this tragic event is talked about nearly enough. It is one of the most shameful periods in American history and the rippling effects have repercussions that follow us into the present. Chee’s ability to so poignantly capture the betrayal, heartache, courage, love, and resilience demonstrated by the youth of that era is masterful, and if this book does not receive a shower of awards and accolades it will be a darn shame. I am so impressed with the way she created fourteen distinct voices that captured so many different elements of the time period and included so many different settings, all while keeping the many characters tied together. A truly phenomenal piece of work in every respect.

I would also like to note that the audiobook version is very well cast. Kudos to all the performers for bringing this story to life!

Tigard_HollyCP Jan 03, 2021

What a way to end my year of reading, with this one, one of my top two favorites of 2020 (the other was The List of Things That Will Not Change, by Rebecca Stead)! This is an absolute masterpiece. Follow the fictional story of 14 American teenagers incarcerated during WWII in temporary detention centers, also known as Japanese internment camps. In one chapter each, the characters tell their part of a chronological story between March 1942 and March 1945 about their incarceration or experience fighting the war. The author draws from her own family’s history. I cannot recommend this story enough.

KyCCL Nov 25, 2020

Ever wondered what it was like to be Japanese in America after the bombing of Pearl Harbour? Follow Twitchy, Shig, Yum-Yum and their friends as they deal with the racism, discrimination, and other challenges that come their way, and have to decide whether they are Japanese, American, or both.

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