Jewels isn't exactly happy with the way things go in her small Pacific Northwest town, between her do-gooder older brother and her alcoholic, frequently absent mother. But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the U.S. enters World War II, everything changes.
Tommy Kaye is the richest man in town, and he's someone Jewels can depend on. He's also Japanese-American, and suddenly, everyone else sees him as an enemy. What power does one young girl have to do the right thing?
There are a lot of irresponsible adults in Jewels' town before the war begins, including her mother and the local sheriff's "Town Hood" / whipping boy policy. Although Jewels' plan to save Mr. Kaye is flawed, her commitment to seeing the truth and resisting injustice is commendable, especially when others, like the local priest, suppose there is nothing they can do to help. The resolution is a little Deus ex Machina, but the depiction of prejudice against Japanese-Americans in WWII and the shades and flaws presented in each character prod readers to think about when and how it is their responsibility to take action.
"Doesn't matter, girl. Once people think you are, you have to prove them wrong. That's just the way the world works."
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