This story tells about the life of a Chinese man, Henry, who lived in America during World War 2. It goes back and forth between flashing back to his childhood in the early '40s and then returning to the present day, in 1986. As a child, he is the only Chinese student at a prestigious white school. His father is making every effort to aid China in the war. He absolutely hates the Japanese, so when a young Japanese girl named Keiko starts to attend his school, he is not sure what to do. The two gradually become friends, despite Henry knowing that he is directly going against his father by "fraternizing with the enemy." Yet it cannot last. Keiko and all the other Japanese in the area are soon rounded up for internment. Henry goes and visits her a couple of times, and he tries to send her letters, but as the war continues, the letters gradually stop. In 1986, Henry is still dealing with the death of his wife, Ethel, from cancer. When he learns that an old hotel in what used to be Japantown has many possessions left there by Japanese before the internment, he is determined to go and see if he can find anything that used to be Keiko's.
That wasn't the best summary. Sorry :/ Anyway, this book started out pretty slow for me- I wasn't really sure what the point of the whole thing was supposed to be, so I wasn't very motivated to read it. Once I got farther in, though, and I started to see Henry and Keiko getting closer, I got really curious about what happened with them, since I could clearly see from the 1986 part of the story that Henry and Keiko had not ended up together. I've never read very much about the Japanese internment during World War II, either, so reading about that was really new to me. Overall, I thought it was a really good book, even if it took me awhile to see it.
10. Seekers: The Quest Begins, by Erin Hunter
This is the start of a new series by the author of the Warriors story arc. The Seekers series tells the story of three bears, a white (polar) bear , a brown(grizzly) bear, and a black bear, as they journey far from their homes to find this place they've heard of where they don't have to worry about not having enough food or being in danger from other animals. In this first book, we meet Kallik, a white bear cub. Spring is coming, so she and her mom and brother have to leave the ice and go live on the land until the ice comes back. As they make the treacherous journey, however, Kallik's mother, Nisa, is attacked by killer whales, and Kallik and her brother, Taqqiq, become separated. Kallik makes it to the land on her own, and now she has to look for her brother, holding out the hope that he made it to land alright as well. Meanwhile, brown bear cub Toklo is traveling with his mother Oka and brother Tobi. They are journeying to the river, where they will be able to catch Salmon, but Tobi is sickly and weak. He dies before they reach the river, leaving Oka miserable with grief. Her first litter all died when they were young, and all she has left is Toklo. The way she sees it, though, Toklo is going to die, too, and she can't stand to see her last cub go, so she sends him off on his own. Oka gets captured and taken to a zoo, where she meets black bear cub Lusa. She tells Lusa how she regrets losing Toklo, and how she doesn't think Toklo knows that she loved him just as much as she did Tobi. Lusa promises to escape from the zoo and find Toklo to give him the message, and at the end of the book, she has done just that. Toklo has already teamed up with another brown bear cub, Uzurak, who has the strange ability (that he can't really control) to morph into other animals.
So, the sequel to this is on my list too, and I've already started on it. The series looks pretty good so far, though it's hinting at some greater purpose to this journey all the bears are on, and I'm not really sure what that's supposed to be. So far it just looks like the sad story of a bunch of orphaned bear cubs trying to survive on their own. I think they're all supposed to join together by the end of the next book, so that should be interesting. This is probably a series I'll want to read more of. You know, 20 books or so down the road.