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A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata

A young girl named Hanako is forced to relocate with her family to Japan after World War II. With the journey through Hiroshima to her father's childhood home, she discovers new family connections, her own personal values, and the horrors of atomic bombs.




World War II

Atomic Bombs




Though this book had a powerful message, I didn't find it very engaging. The majority of the book is very slow-moving, and you can't be sure where the plot is trying to go. There was also a lot of strange dialogue for the children in the book that did not feel realistic. That being said, I really did enjoy some parts of the book! It was lovely to read about Hanako bonding with her grandparents and learning about her culture.

PROS Detailed

Some warm & fuzzy parts that are wonderful to read

Violence and Scariness 4/5 Men beaten with baseball bats. Results of atomic bombing; people with scars , missing body parts, faces burnt off, hands looking like claws. Sex and Romance 0/5 Not present

CONS Children are unrealistic

Not very engaging

Unsatisfying ending

Emotional Intensity 3/5 Forced to leave home. Mean people. Characters see starving children. Children separated from parents. Drinking and Drugs 1/5 Mentions a man being drunk. Father works for black market and is paid in cigarettes.

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