About the book:
An essential American novel from Sandra Dallas, an unparalleled writer of our history, and our deepest emotions...
During World War II, a family finds life turned upside down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes (and suspicions) turn to the newcomers, the interlopers, the strangers.
This is Tallgrass as Rennie Stroud has never seen it before. She has just turned thirteen and, until this time, life has pretty much been what her father told her it should be: predictable and fair. But now the winds of change are coming and, with them, a shift in her perspective. And Rennie will discover secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things.
Part thriller, part historical novel, Tallgrass is a riveting exploration of the darkest--and best--parts of the human heart.
Rennie Stroud, a 13-year old girl, tells the story of what happens when a Japanese internment camp is opened in her small Colorado town during WW2.
I found the story compelling. I loved Rennie's voice and those of her parents, who are, at first, some of the only people in town who accept the Japanese people. Rennie's father employs some young Japanese men on his sugar beet farm and the bond of friendship that forms between them all is strong.
Predictably, the prejudice shown to these newcomers is strong and mean. When a good friend of Rennie's is murdered, the Japanese are immediately suspected, even though it is obvious that it was one of the angry locals. Although, which angry local is not apparent until the end.
As in all Dallas novels, secrets are revealed and all isn't as it appears. The book is as much about Rennie's coming-of-age how the war shapes her perceptions of life, as it is about the internment camps.
I'm rarely disappointed in a Sandra Dallas book, but I was disappointed in the rather abrupt ending. It was too sudden and left too many questions unanswered. I have no idea how historically correct this novel is, but it's certainly an engrossing read.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can purchase your own copy here.
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