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Orchards by Holly Thompson


by Holly Thompson

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1069114,970 (3.92)1



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Interesting and often moving but this is another verse novel that seems better suited to prose than verse. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Kana is sent to spend the summer with her mother's family in Japan after one of her classmates hangs herself. It seems the perception is that the callousness of the 8th grade girls, particularly the center of the social universe, Lisa, is one of the causes of Ruth's suicide. As she learns about life in Japan and her extended family, she also copes with the grief and ideas about her culpability in Ruth's death. As she grows stronger, she reaches out to other people in her social circle. The sparse verse tells a powerful story. ( )
  ewyatt | Jul 10, 2011 |
I haven't heard very much about this novel, until I won it off Random Buzzers. I was excited to see that it was written in verse and that the book was filled with beautiful illustrations. It was a very quick read, and it was different from anything else i've ever read.

This Story was about a girl named Kana Goldberg, who after the suicide of a schoolmate is sent to her relatives in Japan. Kana feels guilty about Ruth's suicide due too some things that were said by her friends to Ruth, and spends her summer contemplating what influence her and her friends had on Ruth's suicide. She is starting to feel at home in her native Japan after much hesitance about wanting to go away for the summer at all. She's starting to feel at home until news from back home sends her into a spiral all over again.

This story was fast-paced, and i really enjoyed it. It was beautifully written, and hopefully recieves much more praises in the near future. It not only had very thought-provoking issues, but also had very beautifully written poetry, that made you not want to put the book down! ( )
  LauraMoore | Jun 24, 2011 |
Easy to read because of the poetic nature of the text. This tragic coming of age story is reminescent of Hess's Out of the Dust in the style of writing and the serious nature of the book. Although she touches on the suicide of the main character's friend the author's provision of the embracing extended Japanese family in an orchard of Japan brings healing and growth. Very highly recommended for teen book discussion and bibliotherapy. ( )
  MarthaL | Jun 5, 2011 |
After a bi-polar classmate’s suicide caused by bullying, Kana is sent to live in Japan for the summer with her mother’s relatives. It was Kana’s friend Lisa that did a majority of the bullying, but Kana never did anything to stop is and it is weighing on her. While in Japan, she is to attend summer school, read a stack of books her mother sent with her, and help her mother’s family tend to their mikan orange groves. Kana is half Jewish and half Japanese and quickly finds herself an outsider in her summer school. She is bigger than the other girls, and being only half Japanese, she looks different. In the beginning, Kana blames Ruth. If it hadn’t been for her suicide, Kana wouldn’t be in Japan for the summer. She would be back in New York with her family and friends. She blames Ruth for not speaking out, not telling anyone about her disorder. If she had, maybe things would have been different. During her months away, Kana vacillates between anger, sadness and regret over what happened. Eventually, she comes to terms with the event. She opens up more to her family, and begins to enjoy her summer, looking forward to going home and starting high school. That all changes when she receives news about another tragedy which changes her life even more.

Orchards is written in free-verse which suits the novel well. Had it been written in prose, I’m afraid it would have been mired down in unnecessary description and would have possibly stripped this moving novel of its heart. Though it does deal with tough subject matter, the author handles it very well. The book is told entirely from Kana’s point of view as she speaks to Ruth, now dead, about her feelings and what she has to go through because of what happened. I felt this added a nice touch and added a depth to the book it may not have had otherwise. The characters are strong, the verse is well-crafted and the story is engaging. All in all it is a satisfying read.

(Review copy courtesy of Book Diva’s) ( )
  booktwirps | May 30, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038573977X, Hardcover)

Winner of the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature
An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book

After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.
Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:13 -0400)

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Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate's suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home.

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