Review: Dynamic Japanese Characters Shine In This Meaningful Book About Sisterhood

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In Japanese, kira-kira means glittering, and shining. And Katie’s sister, Lynn makes everything seem like it is. Even “the calls of the crickets and the crows” seem kira-kira to Lynn and Katie.

The sisters are inseparable. Katie always agrees with Lynn, no matter what. They even have a special chant. But after their move to Georgia, the sisters’ bond starts to break, little by little. And when Lynn starts to get sick…Katie wonders whether anything can be kira-kira again. This Newbery Medal-winning book by Cynthia Kadohata is a sad but meaningful one about sisterhood, hope, and love.

The story is set to the early 1950s, with a Japanese family of 5. The Takeshima family don’t have much, but they’re closely knit. But soon, Katie learns that life isn’t really as magical as Lynn makes it seem. Many people don’t like her because of her heritage. And, her parents work tirelessly at a poultry factory, but still don’t earn much money. Still, Lynn believes that tomorrow will be better, and they make wishes and plans for the future. But as Lynn gets older, her personality changes. Now she cares about makeup, boys, and being ladylike. Soon she is diagnosed with anemia and cancer, and the whole family starts to fall apart. All Katie can do is hope there is something kira-kira in the future.

I love Kira-Kira so much, because it tells such a beautiful story about hope and family. The characters in this book are so dynamic, each with their own unique personality. Katie may seem like an average kid, but her flaws and love for her family make it seem like she is your best friend. Plus, multiple times in the book, it is stated that Lynn is a genius, and there are some instances where that is true, like when she beats her uncle multiple times in chess, and her beautiful way of looking at the world. I also love all of the symbolism in the book, every tiny detail foreshadows the future. There is a part in the book where a brown moth flies around Lynn’s room, and she can’t take her eyes off of it. I think it was a symbol of her freedom, how she wished she could be as free as the moth.

It’s SUCH a sad book, but one you need to read.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes books they can take something away from. This one will leave you in tears, but you will have something to think of it. If you like historical fiction or realistic fiction, this is the book for you. And, if a relative or someone you know has cancer, I would recommend this book. It won’t exactly reassure you, but it will give you a sense that you are not alone in this cancer battle. That many people are feeling exactly what you’re feeling right now. And even though this book is in the time period nearly 70 years ago, people can still relate to it.

I LOOOOVED this book! I rate it four out of four roses.

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