Rating: High Four
Who I'd Recommend to: Fans of Bridge to Terabithia, Home of the Brave, and historical fiction in general.
Favorite quote: "When Uncle knocked on the door, I told him to give me a password. He said, "Open this door right this minute young lady or bear my wrath." That happened to be the password, so I let him in."
Synopsis (from Amazon):
kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining. Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason. And so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare. And it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow. But when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.
Katie was such a great main character. This book could easily get depressing, but Katie's young, fresh, sometimes humorous perspective balanced that. In my opinion, Katie is the best thing about this book. If there was no Katie (and obviously, a different main character, with a different personality) I just don't think this book would work. The life lessons in this book are great too - I found myself connecting in many ways to the lessons and hardships Katie's family went through, and think this book, as well as being generally interesting, is educational as well. Not educational like a textbook, educational in that I learned a lot more about Japanese immigrants and their struggles, as well as some very different, fascinating views on life (Lynn's and Katie's). And at the end, I couldn't stop the tears, and the ending was just picturesque and perfect for this book. It left you wondering, but in the best way possibly.
I definitely recommend this book to everyone, adult or kid, just get your tissues ready :)