Rating: 3.9 stars.
It’s 1841 and Japan is deep into their isolationism. A Japanese fishing boat sinks, only to be rescued by Americans. Fourteen year old Manjiro learns all he can about the new culture and is keen for the adventure this new knowledge will bring him.
I feel into this book by complete accident. I saw it on the shelf in the library, and the attractive cover caught my eye. When I read the description, it was something the likes of which I’d never read before.
I really liked how different it turned out to be. It was a piece of history I wasn’t familiar with, and it gave me a good window into the time and place. The sections with great detail and explanation were excellent, but large chunks of time disappeared throughout the book, that left me wanting more.
My big beef – and this is no fault of the author – is that I felt like the story was mostly given away by the hook. There were virtually no surprises, which was a little disappointing. It was pleasantly predictable, but part of me just wanted more.
Recommendations: This is very much an all ages book. There are scenes that get a little descriptive about the 19th century whaling industry, so if blood disturbs, steer clear. Great middle school read as a historical fiction.