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4.7 out of 5
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    Amazing

    A very beautifully told story about very painful situations. Very moving and uplifting. I learned more about this time in history.
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    Heartbreakingly stunning!

    Nora & Kettle is set in 1953, and things aren't going great for either of them. For Kettle, things look as bad as they are, because he is a homeless Japanese-American orphan, who has been making it on his own in a tunnel with a bunch of other kids in his situation. He has a job that he to, quite literally, fight for every day. It isn't easy, but he's getting by. Nora's life, on the outside, looks lovely. Well-to-do family, nice home, father with a successful law career. Only looks can be deceiving. Nora's father is the actual worst, and is incredibly abusive, physically and emotionally. Let's start with Nora. Nora may not be likeable in the usual sense, because of course she isn't going to be pleasant- her life is hell. She would have run away, but the only thing in life that matters to her is her little sister Frankie. And their love... oh, I can't even type about it without tearing up. Nora will put up with anything, just to keep her sister safe. And her father has definitely resolved to break her. "As pink water runs down the drain, I think of his words. 'You're of no value to me'. He may think he has me pinned. That he has clipped my wings and broken my spirit, but he's wrong. My value is in my love for my sister. My value is growing with every day I live." That is why Nora is so damn incredible. She is brave when there is basically no hope. She dares to hope for better, for her and for Frankie. As for Kettle, he is every bit as brave. He cares so deeply for the kids in his care. He's basically taken on the role of guardian, even while he himself should still be able to be a kid. He's realistic, but positive. He's incredibly loyal, and he works so hard every minute of every day. And it broke my heart that he ever had to do this. It made me so mad that people are so willing to hate. It happened then, it happened before then, it happens now, and sadly, I feel like it will always happen, to someone. In this case, Kettle did nothing wrong, except happen to be of Japanese ancestry. Even people who were seemingly sympathetic to his plight didn't fully understand why this blatant racism was so fundamentally wrong. "The guard gives us a sympathetic look when we reach him. 'Look, boys, I'm sorry that happened but you know, with the way you look, particularly, this one,' he points at Kin, 'well, you can understand why they'd want to punch you.'" Um, really, really not. But that is the world that Kettle and Kin are living in, and Kettle just rises above time and time again. That isn't to say he accepts it, but he lives his best in spite of it. Their stores will break your heart, but their character will fill it back up. They seem almost fated to meet, after several near-misses, and when they finally do, it's startling how two people from such seemingly different backgrounds can have so very much in common. I don't want to tell you much more about the plot, because you just need to experience this one. Bottom Line: Nora & Kettle was gorgeous, from start to finish. It's incredibly raw and emotional while still being hopeful. Both Nora and Kettle are easy to fall in love with, and to root for, and they have captured my heart.
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    Oh, the feels

    Heart wrenching story about family and overcoming. Creates a bridge of understanding and sameness to different lots that we're born in to.
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    Give me more!

    I didn't know what to expect when I picked this one. But it was perfect. Love the characters. Love the imagery. Love the feels. Perfect length, but I would love to hear more of Nora and Kettle and their story.
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    Best read of the year so far

    Eighteen-year-old Nora has lived through a life of physical abuse at the hands of her father, a lawyer campaigning for the civil rights of Japanese Americans interred seven years earlier in World War II prison camps. Children who escaped from these camps or became orphans were dubbed the "Lost Children" by the press. Kettle is one of these children. Now seventeen, Kettle lives in the tunnels of the railway station with his "family" of homeless children, the Kings of the Subway. Refusing to resort to stealing, Kettle ekes out a meager living by working dangerous jobs on the docks to support his family. We follow both Nora and Kettle on their separate journeys. Their paths intersect on so many levels until they finally meet - right when they both need each other most. This is a heartbreaking account of a young man's struggle to survive on the streets and of a young woman's physical abuse at the hands of her own father. This is a story that moved me the tears. It is an emotional journey for both the characters and the reader. The author imbues the story with a fable-like quality through her beautiful, lyrical, and poetic prose, full of rich metaphors and similes. We see shades of Peter Pan through the recurring theme of flying, and the more you look, the more references you will find; this added layer of nuance provides the reader some relief from the stark realities of the characters' lives. I love the cover, the significance of which will be revealed as you read. Thankfully, this story is ultimately uplifting. I love how Nora ends up defeating her father in a totally unexpected, yet satisfying, way. Best read of the year so far. Warnings: domestic violence, violence, animal cruelty, mild swearing, minor sexual references
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