All right, one of my most anticipated reads for the year down, let’s get into what I thought of it.
All We Left Behind is about two teenagers living on Maine Island, Canada in the late 1930s and 1940s. Hayden, a popular, attractive, boy and Chidori, a shy, beautiful, kind, girl. They’ve been friends their whole lives and now, Hayden wants to ask Chidori to go steady. The only problem is that Chidori is Japanese.
Despite the racism and hate, Hayden is determined to keep their love alive and while he is oversees fighting in the war, he keeps a photo of Chidori with him at all times.
I can’t say too much without giving away the majority of the plot and the dramatic reveals that are peppered throughout the story. It’s told in dual timelines and consists mostly of Hayden’s perspective with some of Chidori’s diary entries sewn in.
The pacing was a bit off for the first maybe 25-40%. I found the story interesting and the premise intriguing (I am always looking for World War Two novels that touch on parts of our histories that we like to keep buried including Japanese internment). Chidori’s character is especially enthralling since her perspective is the one that is most unlike my own and holds so much more emotion and conflict.
Once the pacing gets settled, the story really picks up. There’s a few plot points that you’re uncertain about and it took all of my patience to not go forward and find out the answers haha. In the end, I think that means that Danielle R. Graham did a good job at making you care about the characters and where their story goes.
For some reason, I keep wanting to compare this to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This could be because it was always recommended on Goodreads as a “Similar book” but truly, I don’t know. What I will say is that I found these characters to be more interesting, more compelling, and the story itself more unique and fresh. So if you liked The Nightingale, I think you would also like this (maybe even more, like me).
I was given access to this arc through NetGalley, all thoughts and opinions are my own.