From the publisher: "A boy coming of age in a time of war…the love that inspires him to survive. For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother. Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength. When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all."
I've never read a book about the Japanese/Dutch side of WWII, so I was riveted by the storyline. It's very sad and hard to read, but also full of friendship, hope, faith, and determination to survive. I was inspired by the characters as I could feel their pain, their struggle and their fierce spirit. Brouwer has obviously done tons of research and he painted the pictures in living color.
This is not a light beach-read, but if you're looking for a captivating story that will illuminate a different side of WWII than we traditionally hear, you should pick up this book. I recommend this book for readers age 16+. I think it would be great to read with a friend, then discuss the questions at the end of the book.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.