Thursday, March 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Nora & Kettle (Paper Stars #1) by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having "one drop of Japanese blood in them"—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys. Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to na├»ve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change. For months, they've lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide.

This book was so incredibly beautiful and moving and amazing and I really don't know if I can do this book justice. Everything about it was perfect! I am a really, really fast reader but for this book, I had to force myself to slow down and savor it. Every single word was perfection.

I freaking loved the characters. First of all, this book takes place in a time period that isn't often talked about. It is set after the horrible period in American history where Japanese Americans were placed in "internment camps." Kettle and his friend, Kin, are homeless and live with a group of Lot Boys. These boys are all of Japanese ancestry and they all have a fear of authority due to their time in the camps. Kettle had been forcibly removed from an orphanage to be taken to a camp, while Kin's mom actually died of TB while inside the camps. Both of these boys, along with the children they take care of, have emotional scars from this time and the amount of racism in America does not help. Kettle and Kin had to dodge physical blows and name calling at every single turn. There were people who obviously felt bad about the camps, but wanted to forget anything had happened. Then there were people who still thought Japanese people were dangerous and bad. It was so incredibly sad, but man, I loved, loved, LOVED Kettle. He was so incredibly brave and loyal and protective. He worked awful (and very dangerous) jobs to pay for food for his lost boys and he refused to steal to do it. 

Then there was Nora. My heart broke for Nina on every single page. On the outside, things looked great. She was very well off and she seemingly had a great family. Her dad was a famous civil rights lawyer who was trying to get compensation for the Japanese Americans who had been placed in the camps. The problem was that Nora's father was an abusive and controlling and sadistic man. I hated that man with every fiber of my being. But Nora was so incredibly strong. She had a sister, Frankie, and she was wiling to do ANYTHING for her. Frankie was partially deaf and needed a hearing aid because of an injury that their father inflicted when she was young. Nora vowed to make sure her dad never laid a hand on her again and she took so much punishment for it. There was one scene where Frankie tried to comfort her and she said "You saved me." I just lost it at that point. My eyes tear up right now just thinking about it. Their relationship was the most beautiful thing in Nora's life and I adored Frankie so much. It was so twisted that this man was so focused on getting justice for others on the outside, while he treated his family like they weren't even human. 

The book goes back and forth between the two POVs. Their lives kind of intersect and overlap, but they still don't meet each other until more than halfway through the book. I was waiting and waiting for them to meet and I was not disappointed. I don't want to give away any of the plot, but I loved their interactions. These two people had so much in common and they were destined to meet. 

It looks like this book MAY get a sequel. The author has a sequel outline, but it depends on how well this one does. So basically, you need to read this book NOW!! Read it because I know you will love it and then you can give it a rave review and then we can get that sequel!


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one for sure!

8 comments :

  1. I feel like we could grab everyone we can find, make signs, and hold a virtual rally for a sequel? That should do the trick! I have no doubt that it would be beyond fabulous, as everything Lauren writes is! Have you read The Woodlands? Your review is perfect! I really hope more people pick up this book. I may do a second giveaway for it, because it legit deserves to be read!I am so glad you loved it too, this makes me quite happy- both as a bookid twinsie, AND a fan of this book ☺

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    1. YES, Shannon! We so do! We need to get as many people as we can to buy it! Maybe I should do a giveaway for it too. That would be one more copy sold to help with the whole sequel thing. I have not read The Woodlands. This was my first book by this author, but it will NOT be the last!! This author was amazing.

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  2. I have heard wonderful things about this book from other bloggers and I really need to get myself a copy.I love that it explores such a different time than is usually explored in YA and all of the characters also sound pretty fantastic. Emotional books can be hard for me, but this sounds like it's worth all the tears and pain I'll go through!
    Beautiful review, Cynthia! :)

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    1. Oh yes, Nick is is WORTH EVERY TEAR. Seriously, you need this book. It is beautiful! Also, the more books that are sold, the more likely it is the sequel will come out. :)

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  3. I really hope the sequel gets made for this one too. I loved it!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Nicole, we need to start a petition or something for the sequel. I need it!

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  4. AHHH I AM LITERALLY ABOUT TO ORDER THIS!! I'm just trying to decide on another book in my order and then SQUEEEE I am getting it. Because I love Peter Pan so so much and I'm super glad that this is everything wonderful and tragic and beautiful. My heart is already aching for these poor darlings. <3 Neeeeed in my life.

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    1. Cait, YES!!! You NEED this book!!! I do believe that you will absolutely adore it.

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