We Are Not Free

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Modern Age

We Are Not Free
Author: Chee, Traci
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1942-1945
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: WWII
Genre: Fiction, Own Voices
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2020

American History > Modern Age > WWII

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.

Emily's Review

This was my favorite book of 2020 and I have pushed this story on everyone I can since then. This YA novel is about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The story is told through multiple perspectives, a group of teenagers who lived in the same neighborhood in San Francisco. I appreciate that they each have individual voices - I never lost track of who's perspective I was reading. Just the fact that there were so many - 14 different character perspectives - that is worthy of high praise. But not just that, each character was written with so much depth, emotion, and personality. They each had a unique perspective to bring to the story.

I felt so immersed in their stories, I laughed, I cried, I raged with them at the injustices they suffered. This book was phenomenal and important and I can't recommend it enough.

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