"In the immediate wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a young Korean American, Alex Moon, leaves his home in California and embarks on a trip across America that could scarcely be made at a worse time for somebody who 'looks Japanese' to all the Americans he meets along the way. He predictably encounters violent prejudice and ends up stranded in a small town in Indiana, surrounded by people who consider him the enemy. All but one. A young woman, Lonnie Hamilton, befriends Alex, and he soon begins to feel a romantic attraction toward her that is completely taboo in their small-town American world.
Even her unsavory characters are warmly, believably drawn, and the character of Lonnie Hamilton herself is wonderfully authentic. I read hungrily as the story picked up pace.
-- Laura Fahey
From InD'Tale Magazine
"Only months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Alex is being sent from his L.A. home to the East Coast. Alex and his family are Korean--his grandparents moved to Hawaii to get away from the Japanese empire-- and because he won't enlist like his older brother did, his father considers him a disgrace. Alex's refusal to fight against their common enemy changes his life when he is attacked at a train station in a rural town. He has no money, no friends and he looks Japanese. Lonnie has longed to leave home and with it her mother's rage, but a chance meeting with "an enemy" was nothing like she'd envisioned. Nor did she realize how violently prejudiced her town truly was.
-- Julie York
From the Author
This book crosses several genres - historical fiction, WWII, clean romance, and Korean culture. Set in the time of heightened fear and suspicion towards Asian ethnicity after Pearl Harbor in WWII, it is a story about identity, prejudice, acceptance, and love.
Young Korean American Alex Moon is the main character who's sent from home to live with his uncle in Washington DC after a disagreement with his father. He feels a lot of bitterness from the events that transpired to launch him on this trip. He gets attacked and becomes stranded in a town where so many people believe he's Japanese and treat him as the enemy they see him as. Alex is a good, respectful young man at heart, but struggles with the hatred he is constantly faced with along with the hit to his pride at having to rely solely on other's charity to make his way in this unfamiliar town.
The second main character, Lonnie Hamilton, is a young woman who has many dreams and aspirations, but who is tied to the responsibilities of her family and the strict, domineering control of her mother. Besides her dreams to see the world, her service to other people and her religion are something she holds close to her heart and it is through these convictions that she comes to defend and befriend Alex. She's drawn to how different he is and to his seemingly mysterious Korean culture and upbringing.
The cast of supporting characters brings conflict, compassion, and a lot of learning and growing for Alex and Lonnie as they discover that their friendship has the power to draw lines in the sand for the people of the town - where they have to decide between giving in to the fear and hatred the war has brought or to accept a stranger in their midst based solely on his own merits.
Aspects of the Korean culture and language are woven into the story. And if you're familiar with Korean dramas, you might be able to spot some fun, subtle references to common K-drama themes throughout. This was something I really wanted to do as a way of honoring Korean culture past and present.