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Within These Lines

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Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country aft Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp. Degrading treatment make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive. With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.


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Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country aft Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp. Degrading treatment make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive. With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

30 review for Within These Lines

  1. 4 out of 5

    R.F. Gammon

    Okay, so this was actually really good! I loved the characters, a LOT. Evalina was the kind of girl I feel like doesn't show up enough in fiction--her fiery, compelling spirit was amazing and her love of political science and desire to seek justice made her very relatable for me. She's the kind of girl I am. And then there was Taichi, who was really just the sweetest guy. I approved of him very much. Other than them, I really liked James, and I liked Evalina's parents. I thought I would like Aiko Okay, so this was actually really good! I loved the characters, a LOT. Evalina was the kind of girl I feel like doesn't show up enough in fiction--her fiery, compelling spirit was amazing and her love of political science and desire to seek justice made her very relatable for me. She's the kind of girl I am. And then there was Taichi, who was really just the sweetest guy. I approved of him very much. Other than them, I really liked James, and I liked Evalina's parents. I thought I would like Aiko more than I did, but she turned out to have a smaller part than I'd anticipated and so I didn't feel I'd gotten to know her as well as I might have hoped. The rest of the side characters, while compelling, were kind of basic. I really liked the story, but therein lies my biggest quibble: This story felt sort of disjointed. There were a LOT of big moments, and big decisions, and plot twists, but I kept feeling like I was missing something. And finally, I figured out why: it's because the story kept skipping those beats. Something big would happen and we'd find out after the fact. Within these Lines jumped over the important moments a bit too much in my opinion, which is disappointing, because I would have LOVED to feel just the tiniest bit more emotion within the story. The disjointedness was rather disconcerting. Other than that quibble--which may be a Faith quibble and not one that concerns anyone else--I really enjoyed this one! The characters were compelling, and so were their struggles; the epilogue made me super happy. I can definitely recommend this one. :) 3.5 stars!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lilian

    w o w what a beautiful piece of historical fiction! I had been looking forward to reading some of Mrs. Morrill’s books lately and I’m so glad to say that Within These Lines did not disappoint! I’ve never been one to read and really enjoy historical fiction, but I loved this book – it honestly inspired me to research more about 1940s and read more books set in that timeframe. Within These Lines deals with many things, but mainly daily life in internment camps. This is one of the only times I’ve se w o w what a beautiful piece of historical fiction! I had been looking forward to reading some of Mrs. Morrill’s books lately and I’m so glad to say that Within These Lines did not disappoint! I’ve never been one to read and really enjoy historical fiction, but I loved this book – it honestly inspired me to research more about 1940s and read more books set in that timeframe. Within These Lines deals with many things, but mainly daily life in internment camps. This is one of the only times I’ve seen books approach this topic so closely and so raw and near to the matter, and I love that the book wasn’t shrouded in depression and darkness, but rather in hope – even though the situation was full of despair. This will be an unpopular opinion, but the characters missed the mark for me. I loved reading about Evalina and Taichi and their families – I really did, but I feel like I was in it more for what happened + learning more about the internment camps than for the characters. I really admire Evalina’s courage and fiery passion though, and I love Taichi’s positive attitude. It really inspired me. My favorite character was probably Aiko, though. I love her snarkiness and sarcasm and general character – she really added life and flavor to the story and I loved it whenever she made an appearance. 😉 Overall, A+ for the historical-ness of this book! I loved getting a glimpse into the internment camp, and I think most people would really benefit from reading this book. I adored reading Mrs. Morrill’s fluid and engaging writing style as well. 4 stars. ftc disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Howe

    (Skip down to read my official review) Y'all! MISS STEPHANIE'S BOOK IS AMAZING! I just thought y'all should get that public service announcement. And you should probably go pre-order it, too. I pre-ordered it. And then I was blown away by also being chosen to review an ARC copy. This book, folks, tells a much-needed story and one pretty much everyone should be familiar with. So, you should probably just add it to your "Highly Anticipated for 2019" list and then block off a few days to read it wh (Skip down to read my official review) Y'all! MISS STEPHANIE'S BOOK IS AMAZING! I just thought y'all should get that public service announcement. And you should probably go pre-order it, too. I pre-ordered it. And then I was blown away by also being chosen to review an ARC copy. This book, folks, tells a much-needed story and one pretty much everyone should be familiar with. So, you should probably just add it to your "Highly Anticipated for 2019" list and then block off a few days to read it when it comes out. It's amazing. And drags you straight into the fray of what was going on kinda "behind the scenes" in America during WW2. And also has fantastic writing. I'll post a full review eventually. * * * * Within These Lines is about Evalina, an Italian-American, and Taichi, the son of Japanese immigrants. Life as they know it is disrupted when America enters WW2 and anti-Japanese feelings sweep across the country. Taichi and his family are forced to move to a Japanese-American internment camp where life is anything but a bed of roses. (Okay, maybe it’s a bed of roses, just the thorns part.) This book is fantastically well-researched and superbly written as the author tackles the often untalked about subject of what America did with Japanese during the war. I remember the first time I was introduced to the subject of American internment camps I was horrified. This book does an amazing job of making the camps and situation come to life and wraps you up in the story until you feel like you’re right there in the drafty, crowded shacks with Taichi. Although it’s a very sad and unfair part of our country’s history, I think it’s important that we don’t bury and forget it, because history has a tendency to repeat itself. This book is real and gritty and sad without being hopeless – the author somehow hit a great balance with making the book exceedingly real while still being interesting and giving the readers the hope that better things are in store. The characters are well-crafted and even though I didn’t like the way the handled certain things, they stayed very consistent to their character/personality. It was interesting to see how different cultures handled the various issues and troubles they faced. The author did an amazing job at creating a truly American/Japanese character in Taichi, vs. simply slapping a Japanese name onto an American character.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Roseanna White

    Within These Lines will steal your breath, your heart, and your thoughts for days after you’ve finished. An always-timely look at prejudice and the importance of taking action combines with a tale of deepest love and self-sacrifice. Flawless and beautiful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hailey Rose

    You know those books that just kinda blow your socks off with their awesomeness? Yeah, this is one of these books. Within These Lines far exceeded my expectations. After reading so much WWII fiction, most of which is focused on military stories and nurses, having a story based in California about a totally different subject is a nice change. It's so cool to get a new perspective and see what life could have been like for an average citizen during the war. I related with Evalina more than I've re You know those books that just kinda blow your socks off with their awesomeness? Yeah, this is one of these books. Within These Lines far exceeded my expectations. After reading so much WWII fiction, most of which is focused on military stories and nurses, having a story based in California about a totally different subject is a nice change. It's so cool to get a new perspective and see what life could have been like for an average citizen during the war. I related with Evalina more than I've related with any other character. Her determination, her "unique combo of fire and grace" (love that one xD), her tender heart toward the oppressed, and empathic spirit so strong she can almost feel other people's pain... I related to the empathetic side of her so much. The desperately wanting to not care so much. *sobs* How Evalina handled her friendships at home and college was also really neat to see. She had struggles with friends. Struggles knowing what friendships to let go. I feel like that's a pretty common thing to deal with in this phase of life that not a lot of books address, so I really appreciated that element. I didn't know much about the Japanese-American camps during the war. I knew they existed, but I had no idea what they were like and the horrors that went on inside. This book was a perfect glimpse into that, and was entertaining as well as educational. Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Abigayle Claire

    4.5 stars This is one of the most engaging and yet educational pieces of historical fiction I've ever read. Rather than the historical fiction that puts a spin on a familiar time and feels compelled to have an extravagant fiction element, this piece really shone a light on the history itself. The characters and events, though somewhat fictionalized, felt very real. Historical. I liked Evalina more than I expected to as she was a fiery girl who often can't keep her mouth closed. Those sort of femal 4.5 stars This is one of the most engaging and yet educational pieces of historical fiction I've ever read. Rather than the historical fiction that puts a spin on a familiar time and feels compelled to have an extravagant fiction element, this piece really shone a light on the history itself. The characters and events, though somewhat fictionalized, felt very real. Historical. I liked Evalina more than I expected to as she was a fiery girl who often can't keep her mouth closed. Those sort of female characters easily annoy me with their lack of self-control. I think what made the difference with Evalina was her empathy and tenderness being at the heart of her passionate stand against injustice. While all of the characters were nice, I liked her the best. My favorite thing about Taichi, other than his general sweetness, was his nonviolent approach. Even though his complacency did not always gain him anything, his refusal to spurn his country or lash out in return paid off in the end. That longsuffering and faith in the greater good is something hard to find in the face of political conflict these days. The book struck a very nice balance in how it exposed the blatant truth of these events. Instead of being dramatic, detailed, and raw (I'm often unable to read such things when it's real events), there are just enough horrible, inhumane things for discomfort, righteous anger, and sympathy. The power was often in what was left unsaid. I enjoyed getting to learn more about this inglorious piece of America's history while also being sucked into a compelling drama. Overall it was well-written, but I found some of the scene breaks to be a little abrupt and had a hard time remembering which category of Japanese was which. Also: the cover fits really, really well. Recommended for ages 12+ for some peril and mild violence that may be distressing to sensitive readers. I received a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Keturah Lamb

    This book made me mad. In the sort of way that means I love it so much and will be recommending it to a lot of people. Wow, it's so powerful. I'd known that America had concentration camps during WWII. But I hadn't really read much about them. But wow. America was (and is) the bigger hypocrite to have had something like this and then turn around and condemn Hitler. It's just disgusting. I loved (and related way too much with) Evalina. Her anger at injustice. How she made politics personal. As sh This book made me mad. In the sort of way that means I love it so much and will be recommending it to a lot of people. Wow, it's so powerful. I'd known that America had concentration camps during WWII. But I hadn't really read much about them. But wow. America was (and is) the bigger hypocrite to have had something like this and then turn around and condemn Hitler. It's just disgusting. I loved (and related way too much with) Evalina. Her anger at injustice. How she made politics personal. As she said, it wasn't about politics, but people. Evalina is a strong character that should motivate and inspire more of us to be the same; brave enough to stand against a crowd of injustices even if it brings us great discomfort. At first I wasn't sure about Taichi's POV (the male POV). I'd just finished listening to the last Divergent audio book before reading this book, and while I had loved Four in the previous two books I did not like his first-person voice. And at first I imagined Taichi to sound like that. But as the book progressed that feeling wore off and I grew to really love Taichi's perspective so very much. I really loved Diego - he grew on me. As did most of Taichi's friends and acquaintances. Part of me had expected to see more of Gia, so I was a tad disappointed not, to. But even so, I did enjoy all of her parts. Though I wonder why Evalina was friends with her? Maybe because their parents were? I also really loved Tony and felt sorry for him at first. I would have liked to see more of him, too. As for the ending . . . that was riveting. By the time Evalina was in a certain tree I was certain major characters were about to die and was bracing myself for something horrible. I won't give away spoilers, but I'll say that I thought the ending amazing. I really likes a line Morrill used to describe James in one of the later chapters, "Crowd are a flame that draws his inner moth." In fact this book was full of beautifully written lines, especially within the first few chapters. And the font is rather unique - all the question marks look like they are upside down. At first I thought it had to be a printing error ;D This book was beyond amazing and definitely one of my favorite reads of all year. EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT IF NOT JUST FOR THE JAPANESE CAMPS HISTORY. As for content, it was clean. Romance was clean and minimal considering the plot. Nothing that would make one cringe. Some kissing. No language. Nothing crude. There was some violence (it's a war novel after all), but nothing too graphic. Lots of racial persecution.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sundin

    Thought provoking and timely, Within These Lines highlights a dark period in history. Through compelling characters, we see the injustice and feel the fears and doubts and dilemmas. But mostly, we see the shimmering ribbon of hope through Evalina and Taichi’s unrelenting love. Stephanie Morrill has written a novel to ponder, a novel to cherish.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan Wilcox

    *sighs, sets book aside, stares off into space, sniffs sadly that it is over* Five shining stars for this wonderful book! I never knew about the horrible things that happened to the Japanese, Japanese/Americans, following Pearl Harbor. So heartbreaking! But gosh, this was such a good book! After being a bit tired of only reading theology/apologetics books lately, this was an excellent choice, I daresay! I was unsure about the writing style at first, but my hesitation faded away as I was caught up in *sighs, sets book aside, stares off into space, sniffs sadly that it is over* Five shining stars for this wonderful book! I never knew about the horrible things that happened to the Japanese, Japanese/Americans, following Pearl Harbor. So heartbreaking! But gosh, this was such a good book! After being a bit tired of only reading theology/apologetics books lately, this was an excellent choice, I daresay! I was unsure about the writing style at first, but my hesitation faded away as I was caught up in the story. I don't like romance/love stories, usually, but this one... *hugs Evalina and Taichi*. I wuved this. <3 I'm excited to read more of Stephanie Morrill's work!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Originally posted on Word Play (www.gabriellenblog.wordpress.com). This was such a good book! I loved both of the protagonists, and only wish I could've seen more of them (especially together). Highlights: -Characters. Love these precious cinnamon rolls. 'Nuff said. -Time period--I don't know a lot about what went on at home during WWII, so I appreciated this alternative look at this difficult time in history. -All the emotion. Normally, I'm not a fan of strong emotion, but this book did it just righ Originally posted on Word Play (www.gabriellenblog.wordpress.com). This was such a good book! I loved both of the protagonists, and only wish I could've seen more of them (especially together). Highlights: -Characters. Love these precious cinnamon rolls. 'Nuff said. -Time period--I don't know a lot about what went on at home during WWII, so I appreciated this alternative look at this difficult time in history. -All the emotion. Normally, I'm not a fan of strong emotion, but this book did it just right. Loved it. Lowlights: -I really wanted to see the story of how Taichi and Evalina fell in love in the first place. We only saw snatches of it in flashbacks, which made me sad. In other words, more Evalina and Taichi!!! -The plot wasn't what I was expecting (but this could just be because I'm not super familiar with the genre.) I kept looking for a clear rising action, climax, and falling action, but it wasn't as clean cut as I expected. -The ending felt a wee bit rushed (not enough winding down from such a build-up). Also, I would've liked to see more of what happened between the ending and the epilogue. GIVE ME MORE TAICHI AND EVALINA. Ahem...please? 4.5 stars! Recommended for ages 13 and up. Content warnings: Sexual: light kisses, not described. One character has a miscarriage out of wedlock before the story, and it is mentioned a few times. Language: Racial slurs are used against characters of Japanese descent. Violence: The Japanese Americans are often targets of attacks--both from Caucasians and Japanese loyalists. Several violent incidents occur on page, but none are graphic. Thanks to the author and NetGalley for the review copy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katie Hanna

    Great story, even though I didn't love everything about it. Three and a half stars. What I loved: - The richness & diversity of the historical premise (interracial romance between an Italian-American girl and a Japanese-American boy, set against the background of Japanese internment during WW2.) This is GOOD AND IMPORTANT STUFF and WE NEED MORE OF IT IN FICTION. Particularly YA fiction. We get too many 'cookie cutter' World War II books about happy 'ordinary' [read: white] people fighting hap Great story, even though I didn't love everything about it. Three and a half stars. What I loved: - The richness & diversity of the historical premise (interracial romance between an Italian-American girl and a Japanese-American boy, set against the background of Japanese internment during WW2.) This is GOOD AND IMPORTANT STUFF and WE NEED MORE OF IT IN FICTION. Particularly YA fiction. We get too many 'cookie cutter' World War II books about happy 'ordinary' [read: white] people fighting happily to take down Hitler's Nazis; and yes, that was part of it, but that's not the whole story. There was also racism and oppression and ugliness on the home front, some of it literally done IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM and the name of the war effort. One huge piece of that ugliness is the story of the Japanese relocation camps. It's real, people. It happened. We need to be honest about it. Within These Lines is a step in the right direction. - Stephanie Morrill makes the world of the internment camps come to life in excruciating detail, on a level I'd certainly never experienced before--and I'm a professional historian! Who focuses on World War II! But even I didn't know how horrible conditions were for the imprisoned Japanese; the hunger, the cold, the lack of privacy, the constant sickness, the unrest and violence. Again, A++ for bringing a dark chapter of American history to light. - Let me say it again: DIVERSITYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY - THE PAST IS SO MUCH RICHER AND MORE VARIED THAN WE GIVE IT CREDIT FOR and that truth is on full display here. Just because interracial marriage was illegal (yes! illegal!) in America in the 1940s didn't mean it never happened! I once read a Tumblr post that said "people don't stop living their own lives just cuz you make a law against it" and that's exactly what Within These Lines is all about. The spaces between and around the lines which the Powers That Be draw to try and fence us in. Evalina and Taichi don't care that the law says they can't be in love. They ARE in love. Period. Full stop. - Speaking of Evalina and Taichi, I adored them both as characters. So much. - Evalina reminds me of myself, in both good and bad ways: serious, passionate, hyper-sensitive, prone to depression, wanting nothing more than to speak the truth and speak it L O U D L Y. I love her political engagement, all the more so because it goes so starkly against what society expected of women in the 1940s. I love her goals of university education and a career as a lawyer. I love the scene where she Lays Down the Law to her best friend's mom, "You think all Japanese-Americans are automatic traitors? How about Italian-Americans? Are you loyal to your country of adoption?" #oooh burn #ya just got schooled - Taichi is an Precious Cinnamon Roll who Didn't Deserve Any of This, and that's the truth. He is darling. A true gentleman. There were definitely scenes when I got a little frustrated with him for not standing up for what he really wanted [especially to his parents]; but, on the whole, his character arc pleased me greatly. He is sweet and solid. - And can I just pause here to give a big round of applause to Taichi's best friend Diego? - DIEGO IS MINE, LADIES :-P :-P :-P - [I'm serious] - Taichi's sister Aiko was my absolute favorite character in the entire book. I am SO HERE for the 'rebellious angsty sibling turned wise mentor' trope, as it mirrors my own familial experiences in a very special way. <333 "Sometimes, Taichi, we do all the right things and life still kicks us in the teeth just as hard as if we'd done wrong." *ugly sobbing* What I didn't love: - We needed stronger romantic scenes between Evalina and Taichi, to build up their chemistry. I understand that these kids are working at a heavy disadvantage in terms of illegality & parental disapproval, so oftentimes they can't show their affection outwardly; but still. There WERE several specific places where an opportunity for a Really Good Kissing Scene was simply glossed over; or where a passionate love letter was written but not read in the reader's presence. I need to see these things. You can't just leave me to imagine them. I need to SEE them. - Too many side characters. Diego was excellent, Aiko was excellent--but Gia and Lorenzo and Tony and Mary and Rose and James kinda all blended together in my mind, after a while. - If Diego Medina is (as is strongly implied) Mexican-American, why isn't he facing serious discrimination as well? Things were BAD for Mexican-Americans during the Great Depression and World War II, particularly in the California farm communities where this story takes place. Yet Diego seems to walk the racial landscape pretty much unscathed, in contrast to poor Taichi who faces oppression at every turn. That . . . felt 'off,' to me. - I have mixed feelings about (view spoiler)[the Black Dragon gang and the camp riot; I understand that this type of violence is a REAL THING that HAPPENED in the internment camps, but I almost felt, the way the climax was arranged, like the Black Dragons became a bigger villain than the actual federal government in literally robbing these people of their homes?? on account of their race??? which should NEVER be true because systemic racism should ALWAYS be recognized as the greatest evil. Now, I do not believe Stephanie Morrill in any way intended to overshadow the awfulness of the government's actions; but riots are Exciting and Dramatic in a way that bureaucratic oppression simply can't be, so it inevitably directs some of the reader's attention away . . . *sighs* My feelings are all very muddled here. (hide spoiler)] - Now, my biggest complaint: - Without exception, ALL the characters in this book (Japanese, Italian, and Anglo-Saxon) use the word 'Caucasian' to refer to white people, both in their speech and in their internal monologues. For this time period, such language is highly, highly unusual. 'Caucasian' was then (as it is now) a mainly academic/pseudo-scientific term to describe what most of us know simply as whiteness. Evalina and Taichi and their friends would have seen their world not in terms of 'Caucasian' vs. 'non-Caucasian,' but 'white' vs. 'not-white'. - Why does this linguistic distinction matter? Because THE STORY OF JAPANESE INTERNMENT IS A STORY OF WHITE SUPREMACY. Of white privilege. Of white identity. We are talking about racism, here; and the potency of American racism depends on the potency of whiteness, not of 'Caucasian-ness.' Think how weird it would sound if Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird suddenly said something along the lines of, "Oh, Tom Robinson is in jail because they say he raped a Caucasian girl." No. That's not why he went to jail, and we all know it. He went to jail because he was accused of raping a WHITE girl. - When you can say the word "Jap," but you can't say the word "white," the racial underpinnings of this entire oppressive system are [unintentionally] glossed over. And we don't want that. We want them out in the open. For all the world to see. - *deep breath* Look, I know this may seem nitpicky to some of y'all, and I'm sorry. But this matters a lot to me. Conclusion: Within These Lines is a powerful tale of love and loyalty during a dark chapter in American history, a chapter which needs to be more widely known. Although I do have criticisms, don't mistake my criticisms for a non-recommendation. On the contrary, I HIGHLY recommend this book. To EVERYONE. Even if you're not a fan of historical fiction, please read this. It'll make you think. <3

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jill Williamson

    This book was amazing. I'd never read anything about the internment camps in the United States during World War II. This story teaches history while it entertains. I loved the characters so much and was rooting for them! I can't wait until everyone can read this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Gyger

    3.5 Stars This is a confusing review for me to write. I've been extremely excited for this book for a while now, ever since reading Girl of Astor Street and learning that this was to be Stephanie's next book. I had hoped for a novel as awesome as that, hopefully with some mystery as well. However, this book was not as similar to the author's last as I hoped. As always, Stephanie's writing is amazing. It is easy to read and relate with, and I blew through the story in a day with little to complain 3.5 Stars This is a confusing review for me to write. I've been extremely excited for this book for a while now, ever since reading Girl of Astor Street and learning that this was to be Stephanie's next book. I had hoped for a novel as awesome as that, hopefully with some mystery as well. However, this book was not as similar to the author's last as I hoped. As always, Stephanie's writing is amazing. It is easy to read and relate with, and I blew through the story in a day with little to complain about. But even while reading, I knew that while I believed this story worthy of a four star review for most, it was more of a three star read for me personally. The reason for this is that I believe the narrative relies a lot of the reader having never read another book about Japanese Interment and to perhaps be a little in the dark about that time in history. And for most readers, this is true. Japanese Internment is not a much talked out subject in America, unlike the Holocaust which most everyone knows something about. However, I have read about Japanese Interment, both novels and nonfiction accounts. I have been interested in the subject from a young age and so, as with any historical I read, I was hoping to learn something new or to at least find the story to be about the internal conflict of the characters who still believed themselves Americans but found their country telling them that they were not American enough. And I KNOW, I warned that this review would be confusing. Because I do believe that had I not already known about most of what was mentioned in this book (I did learn about one event that I had not heard of before, and was captivated for those chapters) that I would have been singing the story's highest praises. And I do recommend that people read this and learn more about a subject they may not have known much about. Because Stephanie's writing is phenomenal and Japanese Internment is a piece of history that should never be forgotten or dismissed. That's not to say that if you already know about Japanese Internment, that you will not enjoy this story. It is still well told, it just didn't hit all of the right notes for me. I wish that there had been more of an internal conflict with the characters as their worlds shifted, as well as perhaps some flashbacks to the beginning of Taichi and Evalina's relationship. Because even before internment, it took guts for these characters to choose to be together. I have provided an honest review of this book. However, I was not required to post a review as I received an ARC through a giveaway held by the author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brian McBride

    I read WITHIN THESE LINES in a day. This book is so good. I loved the characters. I loved Evalina’s fiery spirit and Taichi’s tender heart. I loved Diego’s (best fictional best friend award goes to this guy btw) protectiveness and Aiko’s honesty. I loved the story and the language and the prose and the fact that this wasn’t a will-they-won’t-they romance - it was a we-love-each-other-so-we’re-gonna-fight-together kind of romance. Which is something you rarely see in fiction these days. The story I read WITHIN THESE LINES in a day. This book is so good. I loved the characters. I loved Evalina’s fiery spirit and Taichi’s tender heart. I loved Diego’s (best fictional best friend award goes to this guy btw) protectiveness and Aiko’s honesty. I loved the story and the language and the prose and the fact that this wasn’t a will-they-won’t-they romance - it was a we-love-each-other-so-we’re-gonna-fight-together kind of romance. Which is something you rarely see in fiction these days. The story wasn’t contrived and it tackled a dark, dark time in our nation’s history without demonizing anyone, but considering everyone. Stephanie captured one of the lesser-known atrocities of WWII in such a raw and compelling way. Loved it so much!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle Cobb

    I will think about this book long after I close it. What a stunning, stunning story. Well-written. Haunting. Highly recommend.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leah Good

    How can someone be loyal to a country that has cast him out? How can love survive when all the odds stand against it? How can goodness prevail when those fighting for freedom also violate the virtue they've gone to war to protect? Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki were never meant to be together ... yet they are determined to be together anyway. But that was before Pearl Harbor. Before people saw an enemy in the slant of Taichi's eyes and the tint of his skin. Before he was evacuated to a detai How can someone be loyal to a country that has cast him out? How can love survive when all the odds stand against it? How can goodness prevail when those fighting for freedom also violate the virtue they've gone to war to protect? Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki were never meant to be together ... yet they are determined to be together anyway. But that was before Pearl Harbor. Before people saw an enemy in the slant of Taichi's eyes and the tint of his skin. Before he was evacuated to a detainment camp with no idea of when or if he'll be allowed to leave. What can two young people fresh out of high school do in the face of such overwhelming opposition? I am so happy I stumbled across the opportunity to read Stephanie Morrill's new book to help with its launch. I was a little skeptical at the love story premise. I like my fiction to be clean and relatively free of sappiness. Happily, I can report that this book, though definitely holding a love story, is both clean (a few mentions of kissing) and any sappiness holds a hard won place in the story. WWII holds such a prominent place in our countries history. Our memories of the Greatest Generation are closely tied to heroic deeds and rousing patriotism. In the midst of all the well deserved laud, it's easy to overlook the grimmer parts of the USA's journey through WWII. Morrill does a fantastic job of shedding light on this page of history with raw realism, sensitivity, and relevance. I'm still processing the themes and lessons of this book (stay tuned for a probably future blog post), but this quote from Evalina resonated with me, "As the brilliant sunset cools to gray, I vow my anger over blatant discrimination will not cool. As these rocks stay steady through season changes and time, so I will remain steady. I will not be silent. I will not let this go.” Stories like this remind me not to judge neighbors (Luke 10:25-37) based on fear and assumptions. Stories like this inspire me to be courageously compassionate, fiercely loyal, and graciously determined. And stories like this remind me that holding to one's convictions and moral compass is always the right course of action, even when your pride is bruised and your loyalty tested. I'm excited for this book to release and for others to enjoy it as much as I did. *I was given an Advanced Reader Copy of this book free of charge. I am under no obligation to give a positive review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own. P.S. Want to read another book set around the Japanese Internment Camps? Try Weedflower.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fiction Aficionado

    Within the Lines may have been written for a young adult audience, but it is a story that will appeal to young adult and not-so-young adult readers alike. In saying that, I think this is a must-read for young adult readers in particular, because it is an eye-opening reminder of the pain and inhumanity people inflict on one another when they allow fear and anger to guide them. If we don’t teach the generations to come about these lesser-known parts of history, however shameful they may be, we doo Within the Lines may have been written for a young adult audience, but it is a story that will appeal to young adult and not-so-young adult readers alike. In saying that, I think this is a must-read for young adult readers in particular, because it is an eye-opening reminder of the pain and inhumanity people inflict on one another when they allow fear and anger to guide them. If we don’t teach the generations to come about these lesser-known parts of history, however shameful they may be, we doom them to make the same mistakes, and in Evalina and Taichi’s story, the shame of the past is couched in a story of determination, resilience, and a love that perseveres in spite of the obstacles in its path. Evalina and Taichi both resonated with me for different reasons. Evalina is a young woman who knows her own mind and chafes against a world that doesn’t always see things the same way she does. As she says at one point, “My soul is so loud, it’s hard to keep the rest of me quiet.” Taichi is equally determined to help people see the truth, but his method is quiet compliance. Surely if they comply peacefully with the military evacuation order, the government will see that they pose no threat. But that optimism is shattered when they arrive at their new accommodation and realise just how much dignity they’ve lost in twenty-four hours. Their story is told simply but beautifully, their struggles touching on some of the most foundational truths of what it means to be human. And there are some powerful quotes from the story that will stay with me: “Shame has given birth to anger inside my chest, and there are precious few safe places for us to show our anger. To one another is the only one we have left.” (Taichi on the general atmosphere when they arrive at the military facility) “As these rocks stay steady through season changes and time, so I will remain steady. I will not be silent. I will not let this go.” (Evalina) “Change is a gradual thing. We have to chip away at the heart-heartedness of others and ourselves. We have to gradually open eyes, not just grab eyelids and yank them open.” (advice to Evalina) “You have always excelled at fighting for others. But if you want to have the strength to continue to do so, you must value yourself enough to fight your own battles too.” (advice to Evalina) If I were to voice just one complaint it would be that the story seemed to wrap up a little quickly, but even so, this is a story that will stay with me for some time. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    A softly beautiful tale told with a magnetic pull that tugs you in to its history and lasting resonance. Timeless themes of prejudice and racism are met with timeless romance and through these, Morrill uses Within These Lines to prove her incredible range. As per her trademark, the characterization is dimensional. Evalina and Taichi become the reader's immediate friends. A lingering treatise on heritage and tradition but also the power of love to span culture and conflict. A tenacious heroine an A softly beautiful tale told with a magnetic pull that tugs you in to its history and lasting resonance. Timeless themes of prejudice and racism are met with timeless romance and through these, Morrill uses Within These Lines to prove her incredible range. As per her trademark, the characterization is dimensional. Evalina and Taichi become the reader's immediate friends. A lingering treatise on heritage and tradition but also the power of love to span culture and conflict. A tenacious heroine and an unforgettable connection are at the heart of this novel that will smack of an eerie contemporary resonance as it fits within current headlines with deft historical aplomb and a challenge to let no line sever love, compassion, hope and kinship.

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Sherlock

    I fell in love with the characters instantly! I haven’t enjoyed a historical fiction novel like this in a long time! World War II one of my favorite times to read about! This book is extremely well written and the plot was very intriguing. It is written in a different perspective than most of the novels set in this time period. It focuses more on the American Japanese who were moved to the camps and less on the war itself. Very insightful. The main couple is amazing! I loved them! I am definitel I fell in love with the characters instantly! I haven’t enjoyed a historical fiction novel like this in a long time! World War II one of my favorite times to read about! This book is extremely well written and the plot was very intriguing. It is written in a different perspective than most of the novels set in this time period. It focuses more on the American Japanese who were moved to the camps and less on the war itself. Very insightful. The main couple is amazing! I loved them! I am definitely recommending it to everyone!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    Although this one actually started off slow for me, and I was unsure if I would like it, it really redeemed itself in the end. I usually love historical fiction like this, especially when it is about certain parts of history that I only know the bare minimum about. To be honest, the only thing I really knew about the Japanese detainment camps during WWII had to do with what I'd learned from one of the characters in the original Karate Kid movie. Yeah, I know, that's sad. I'm sure I learned other Although this one actually started off slow for me, and I was unsure if I would like it, it really redeemed itself in the end. I usually love historical fiction like this, especially when it is about certain parts of history that I only know the bare minimum about. To be honest, the only thing I really knew about the Japanese detainment camps during WWII had to do with what I'd learned from one of the characters in the original Karate Kid movie. Yeah, I know, that's sad. I'm sure I learned other things in school, but that is all that stuck with me. The book started out seeming like it was just going to be a pretty simple romance story with some of the historical times that it was set in. But once we got to the point where Taichi got sent to the camp, it really got into what resonated with me. The fact that here in America we would start a camp, and run it, almost as bad as what the Nazi's were doing in Germany, frustrates me. However, the book reminded me about how the press made sure to only cover what made it look like the camps were nice relaxing, fun places. That the truth of the matter wasn't really shown. That kind of detail is so relevant in today's world, when we hear about fake news, and you hear that governments or companies, want to control what is reported. But it wasn't just the Japanese interment camp parts that this book really brought up. There was also the bit that Evalina had to deal with not only as a female, but also as a minority in the country at that time as well. The fact that inter-racial marriage was so illegal at that time, so much more than really ever occurred to me, a very sheltered girl when I was growing up in the suburbs of the 80s. Overall this was a great historical fiction for teens, and I look forward to putting it in my school library for my students to read. Review first posted on Lisa Loves Literature.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Evalina and Taichi are dating, but they haven't told either of their respective families during a time (1942) when shortly after the attack on Pearl Habor has occurred, and the anti-Japanese sentiment is high. Evalina is strong-willed and passionate in her beliefs and is not afraid to speak about what she thinks is wrong. I have to admit that I struggled with Evalina's personality a lot because I tend to shy away from people who have these personalities. Taichi is quiet and kind and tended to sh Evalina and Taichi are dating, but they haven't told either of their respective families during a time (1942) when shortly after the attack on Pearl Habor has occurred, and the anti-Japanese sentiment is high. Evalina is strong-willed and passionate in her beliefs and is not afraid to speak about what she thinks is wrong. I have to admit that I struggled with Evalina's personality a lot because I tend to shy away from people who have these personalities. Taichi is quiet and kind and tended to shy away from having attention shone on him especially because of his heritage which I could understand. I think because I am an introvert that I connected a lot quicker to Taichi than I did with Evalina. A lot of the story takes place while Taichi and his family are stationed in what could be easily termed a work camp of sorts called Manzanar Relocation Center. Shortly after Evalina begins college where besides majoring in Political Science and encountering a professor who singles her out because of her Italian background and her opinions on how the American Japanese are being handled by the government. The one thing that I did appreciate is instead of pushing Evalina's fire for justice, her friends like Grace Bishop very succinctly rebuked once but she seems to take it well, and it (a particular situation) allowed her to grow more maturely in her passion for the righting the wrong against the Japanese. As for Taichi while he was in the Manzanar Relocation Center, he started to realize that fighting for something that you love and believe in was worth the risk. Even though he tried to break up with Evalina because he didn't want to expose her to the hate and anger that others felt towards him and his family, Evalina continued to write to Taichi. It was through Evalina's perseverance and other situations while in the Center that shined a light so that Taichi could see the risk was worth taking. It was gratifying to see both Evalina and Taichi grow in confidence in themselves and in the love of those around them. I started out not sure if I would continue reading this novel, but I decided to stay the course, and I am very glad that I did. It's amazing how fictional characters can seem so real in my head.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Esther Filbrun

    I haven’t known about the Japanese American concentration camps in the US for very long. Several years ago, I came across a book about it, but I never finished it—probably because I didn’t find it all that interesting. However, my curiosity about the history surrounding that has been somewhat piqued since then, so when I saw this book coming out, I was excited to read it to learn what I could! I instantly fell in love with Evalina and Taichi’s story. Seeing these two friends trying to make the be I haven’t known about the Japanese American concentration camps in the US for very long. Several years ago, I came across a book about it, but I never finished it—probably because I didn’t find it all that interesting. However, my curiosity about the history surrounding that has been somewhat piqued since then, so when I saw this book coming out, I was excited to read it to learn what I could! I instantly fell in love with Evalina and Taichi’s story. Seeing these two friends trying to make the best out of life—and fight for each other—was pretty special. I sympathized with Evalina’s feelings of helplessness, and Taichi’s just wanting to make the best of the situation, but most of all, I appreciated the resilience shown here. It was also special to watch Evalina and Taichi’s relationship grow during the story. They both learned lessons about how to treat others and love others even in difficulty, and how to forgive and keep loving even when it seems hopeless. It’s challenging to read stories about people who are put in difficult situations who do the best they can with what they have. Where I would be tempted to complain, they just dug in and did what needed to be done, and I really appreciate that sort of commitment! In all, this was a great story! Perhaps not the nicest happening in America’s history, but I’m thankful people are willing to talk about the not-so-great aspects as well as the good ones. War is awful, no matter how one looks at it, but stories like this—while they may be fictitious—still speak of the brave men and women who lived for others as much as they could even in hardship. A good book! I requested a free review copy of this book from Netgalley, and this is my honest opinion of it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Bogner

    I read this in one afternoon. Review to come!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hannah White

    Wow, this book. It's hard to put my thoughts into words. This book is one of those books that you finish and kind of sit back and think "wow." It's one of those books that you can't stop thinking about days, weeks, even months after reading. It's one of those books that sticks with you for a very long time to come. Within These Lines tells the story of a young Italian-American woman named Evalina Cassano who falls in love with a Japanese-American, Taichi Hamasaki. Set in the 1940's, the two are fa Wow, this book. It's hard to put my thoughts into words. This book is one of those books that you finish and kind of sit back and think "wow." It's one of those books that you can't stop thinking about days, weeks, even months after reading. It's one of those books that sticks with you for a very long time to come. Within These Lines tells the story of a young Italian-American woman named Evalina Cassano who falls in love with a Japanese-American, Taichi Hamasaki. Set in the 1940's, the two are facing a lot when they begin seeing each other. But that doesn't stop them, not even when the "evacuation" of the Japanese-Americans places miles between the two of them. This book is a wealth of important historical information. I had no idea about many of the things that took place in this book. I had a vague knowledge of the fact that some sort of Japanese-American concentration camps existed, but that was the extent of my knowledge. This book was an incredible eye opener to me. It's a book that everyone should read, especially Americans, as it's a very important, and often overlooked, piece of our country's history. I think my favorite aspect of this book was Evalina. She was everything I would want to be, should a situation like this arise in my life. She was there for Taichi every step of the way, and she did so many things that I would never in a million dreams find the courage to do. Maybe, if we read enough books with characters like Evalina, we'll find ourselves getting a little bolder and braver as a result. No harm in trying, right? Stephanie Morrill does a phenomenal job of putting us in the time period and making us fall in love with these characters as they fall in love with each other. It's a sad book, yes, but it's also beautiful. I definitely recommend it to YA readers. This is a story you'll walk away from thinking about for a long time to come. I can't wait for Stephanie's next amazing historical novel!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    In her story Within These Lines, author Stephanie Morrill has written a beautifully captivating story that readers will immediately be fascinated by. Morrill has taken on a hard topic with a story that story shows the harshness and the struggles of Japanese immigrants and tragically beautiful story of a forbidden love between a Japanese man and an Italian-American woman. Readers will consume this well-researched, deep, reach, and beautifully haunting historical romance. This is a strong and powe In her story Within These Lines, author Stephanie Morrill has written a beautifully captivating story that readers will immediately be fascinated by. Morrill has taken on a hard topic with a story that story shows the harshness and the struggles of Japanese immigrants and tragically beautiful story of a forbidden love between a Japanese man and an Italian-American woman. Readers will consume this well-researched, deep, reach, and beautifully haunting historical romance. This is a strong and powerful story that will leave a mark on the heart of all who read it! Genre: young adult, historical, romance, WWII Publisher: Blink Publication date: March 5, 2019 Number of pages: 352 An e-review copy of this book was provided by the author’s launch team via NetGalley and a print copy via JustRead Tours. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Dyer

    Review to come at AAR.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    *I received an ARC of Stephanie Morrill's Within These Lines. Within These Lines is told in the alternate voices of Taichi and Evalina as they are caught up in the swirl of events following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Though their burgeoning feelings would have been frowned upon prior to that cataclysmic event, afterwards their relationship was fraught with racism, separation, mistrust and even danger. It seems so odd to read that during this period interracial marriage was forbidden in *I received an ARC of Stephanie Morrill's Within These Lines. Within These Lines is told in the alternate voices of Taichi and Evalina as they are caught up in the swirl of events following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Though their burgeoning feelings would have been frowned upon prior to that cataclysmic event, afterwards their relationship was fraught with racism, separation, mistrust and even danger. It seems so odd to read that during this period interracial marriage was forbidden in California! The alternating voices of Evalina and Taichi rang true as they shared their feelings, disappointments and the events that sometimes swirled out of their control. I believe it is so important to read wonderful historical fiction - fiction that compels the reader to learn more about the events depicted within the pages. Stephanie Morrill's novel encourages her readers to do this - "About the History" was an excellent addition. I also didn't know that Manzanar was a National Historic Site! Always learning... I only have a few complaints. I think Evalina's dealings with the obviously racist and chauvinistic Professor Blake deserved a bit more pages - I wanted to know what her final grade was in that comparative politics class and if she kept her scholarship. This was new territory for females in 1942! I regretted how Taichi cut Evalina off because he felt it was the right thing to do; I admire Evalina for being faithful despite the emotional barriers. Though it was only mentioned a few times, "La Mala Notte" was a real fear for Americans of Italian descent who lived in coastal areas, especially if they were not American Citizens, which many of the elders were not. This would have been of clear concern to the Cassano Family. There was mention of Evalina's Grandfathers and other family members being involved with the Mafia, which I assume is why her parents moved to San Francisco... Kudos for the portrayals of all the supporting characters - good and negative - The Bishop's were amazing: I want to believe there were many people who stood up against the treatment of their fellow Americans and didn't accept the highly-glossed media version. It is unfortunate, but true, that people turn against their fellow citizens in trying circumstances - this fact was not white-washed Within These Lines.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kiki Cole

    4.5 stars 🌟 I adored this historical forbidden love story between an Italian girl and a Japanese boy. I love diverse romances because they are rebellious and are like a huge F you to the world type of relationships. I really felt as though a major piece of the MCs stories were missing and that the passage of times were rushed, but the story would become much longer and less interesting than it is now. I enjoyed this immensely and I feel as though it greatly represents the complications of the bo 4.5 stars 🌟 I adored this historical forbidden love story between an Italian girl and a Japanese boy. I love diverse romances because they are rebellious and are like a huge F you to the world type of relationships. I really felt as though a major piece of the MCs stories were missing and that the passage of times were rushed, but the story would become much longer and less interesting than it is now. I enjoyed this immensely and I feel as though it greatly represents the complications of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and how America handled it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen Juenke

    I am going to buck the trend and say that this book was too much of a buildup with too little of an ending. I really liked the concept of an interracial couple dealing with the Japanese Internment of the United States. The beginning took so long to actually figure out that the main characters were dating/in love. Then the author spent way too much time covering the baseball games in the camps. The ending came and it was too rushed. Not enough of an epilogue to figure out how the main characters ma I am going to buck the trend and say that this book was too much of a buildup with too little of an ending. I really liked the concept of an interracial couple dealing with the Japanese Internment of the United States. The beginning took so long to actually figure out that the main characters were dating/in love. Then the author spent way too much time covering the baseball games in the camps. The ending came and it was too rushed. Not enough of an epilogue to figure out how the main characters made their relationship work, how Tai went to war, etc. Overall a very disappointing book that had great potential.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Renée (bookishblissandbeauty)

    Advanced Reader Copy provided by TLC Book Tours and Blink* Stephanie Morrill’s Within These Lines tells the story of Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki at the onset of the Americans entry in World War II after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Evalina and Taichi have formed a relationship after meeting at the local market, savoring brief moments together, and writing love letters. Though they know their interracial relationship will be frowned on by some, they are eager to leave their neighborhoods a Advanced Reader Copy provided by TLC Book Tours and Blink* Stephanie Morrill’s Within These Lines tells the story of Evalina Cassano and Taichi Hamasaki at the onset of the Americans entry in World War II after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Evalina and Taichi have formed a relationship after meeting at the local market, savoring brief moments together, and writing love letters. Though they know their interracial relationship will be frowned on by some, they are eager to leave their neighborhoods and attend college so they can be together. However, bigger issues are on the horizon as Taichi’s family is interned at Manzanar Relocation Center where the family faces injustice and hardship. Meanwhile, Evalina remains at home in her Italian neighborhood and increasingly becomes more vocal against injustice. The highlight of this young adult book, for me, was the focus on WWII from a different perspective. WWII historical fiction has become quite popular in the last few years but it has often focused on the European theater rather than the Pacific or the homefront from the American perspective. I appreciated that the author instead focused on a major issue with American policy during this time period of the “Greatest Generation”. It’s important to acknowledge both sides of the history and historical fiction is a perfect vehicle for young people to learn about history. Additionally, as someone who identifies a multiracial I loved seeing an interracial relationship in a historical context with all its messiness. On a personal connection my grandfather was half Mexican and half Japanese his family was almost interned) and he later married a blonde German/English woman. I often think about how their relationship must have been viewed in the postwar period. So I was personally touched by the makeup of this relationship. While I appreciated the historical context and interracial relationship I feel that the book is a bit disjointed. I was not a huge fan of the first person present point of view and I feel like third person would have been more beneficial for the story and description. Additionally, at time the historical details seemed a bit heavy handed and moralizing. I think the book could have used a bit more “show” rather than “tell”. Despite this issues, upon reflection I think this book would be a good fit for it’s target audience of young adults. I could see myself as a 12 or 13 year old really being attached to this book. So while it might not have been a perfect fit for a twenty-something with a master’s degree in history, I do think classrooms, school libraries, and public libraries would benefit from including this book as well as anyone’s personal library!

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