The Blonde Bookworm: The War Outside by Monica Hesse -- Review

The War Outside by Monica Hesse -- Review

Monday, July 23, 2018

Title: The War Outside 
Author: Monica Hesse 
Pages: 336
Publishing: September 25th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: A stunning novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal from Monica Hesse, the Edgar Award-winning and bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat

It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other? 


The War Outside was hands down one of my favorite reads of the year so far. It was so beautifully written and the characters were perfect. It was such a powerful and important novel! I love reading historical fiction, but I typically stick to adult novels for that genre. I was pleasantly surprised by The War Outside and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the little details that made the novel feel so real. 

The novel is told from two points of view. Haruko and Margot are young ladies who moved to an internment camp with their families. I think the two point of view gave a special something to the novel because the reader was able to see what the camp was like for both girls and their families. They were able to build this terrifying and unstable world for the reader that was real and heartbreaking. This was definitely a darker read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

The War Outside is a heartbreaking tale about bitterness and betrayal, as well as friendship and love. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy historical fiction. I was very impressed with Hesse's writing and look forward to reading more from her in the future. Thank you to The NOVL for sending this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 5/5 


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