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Kinga's Reading

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford Set in Seattle during World War II, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is about a Chinese-American, Henry Lee, and his friendship with a Japanese-American girl, Keiko. It is a fascinating story of national identities and persistence. Henry's father insists that he wears a "I'm Chinese" button, while sending him to an all-white American elementary school. There, he meets and becomes friends with Keiko, who is a second-generation Japanese-American. As this story unfolds during World War II, their friendship is far from simple. Faced with racist taunts from their classmates and Henry's father's hate of the Japanese, Henry and Keiko's relationship deepens until they are separated by the deportation of all Japanese further inland, as ordered by the American government. I had two minor historical quibbles (Marty couldn't have run an online Chemistry group, as there really wasn't much internet in 1986, not even for summa cum laude graduates. Also, the Japanese remained in China until 1945, so it is unlikely that the Canton region would be considered "safe" in 1942), but otherwise, this was a great page-turner.