Cynthia Kadohata’s YA novel, A Place to Belong (published 2019), is set at the end of WWII and tells the story of a young Japanese girl, whose family had been interned recently at a camp in the U.S.,and has decided to take advantage of the “deal” the government gives them to return to Japan after Hiroshima. Having spent her whole life trying to appear more American and less Japanese, the teenager must now act less like the “spoiled, American teen” and learn her family’s Japanese ways. Japan, the family finds, is not the Japan her parents longed for, but the poverty-stricken, occupied shell of their home country.
This Newberry Award-winning author of Kira-Kira, a hit with both middle school students and early high-schoolers, once again deals with YA angst, relationships, and trying to “fit in.” Kadohata explores the Japanese concept of kintsukuori, “fixing broken objects with gold lacquer, making them stronger and more beautiful than ever.” This young woman’s broken spirit is mended, and her character is molded into something strong and beautiful as she deals with the situations and circumstances which occur in the page-turner.
I give this one 5 stars out of 5 stars!