The year is 1942 and the government has created a relocation camp for the Japanese in Colorado, in a town called Ellis. Just like any other issue, there are individuals who are opposed to having these Japs in their town and feel as though they should be sent back to their own country. The U.S. is at war and this just adds fuel to the fire that burns within these individuals. Still, there are others that feel that these prisoners are not being treated properly within the camp, for they are people and should be treated as such. Rennie lives with her parents as her older brother and sister have both went off to war. Her father wants to employ some of the prisoners to work in his beet field as many of the regular workers have gone off to war including his own son. This idea has sparked controversy and rage among the town. With no other options, the Japanese workers arrive on their property and their work is more than satisfactory for her father. They fit right in and other farmers begin to employ the prisoners yet other citizens sneer and question the process. Across town, a rape and murder take place and immediately the blame is cast upon the Japanese workers, yet no single one is accused of the crime. This crime hangs over the community as life tries to move forward yet the town is divided. Rennie feels conflicted in her thoughts about the crime as it was her friend whose life was cut short and it is these prisoners who are on her land, friendly and breaking bread with her and her family. She is expected to be strong, to carry on when mother’s health declines yet inside she doesn’t know herself just how strong she really is.
Rennie’s character was not as emotional as I thought a thirteen-year old girl should be. She questioned herself and her ability yet she really did not have the intense emotions I thought she should have. She was too sweet and understanding for me. The story was interesting and the flow of the story was good but I was a bit bored at times with all the details of things I didn’t care about and I wanted to know more about other things the author left out. It was a calm and relaxing story, a smooth read which could have been more intense had the author pursued it.