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Thompson, Holly.
New York : Delacorte, 2011
ISBN 038573977X
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Orchards is a novel in verse that deals with a difficult subject – bullying and teen suicide.

Kanako Goldberg is half-Japanese and half-Jewish, and a member of the clique of girls whose teasing had something to do with a classmate’s suicide.   The classmate was bipolar and had all these issues anyway, and besides, it’s not like Kana was the ringleader… but she didn’t do anything to stop it either.

Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior and develop some sensitivity to the situation, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves.

Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But Kana gets to know her relatives, and Japan, and village culture. Through imaginary conversations with Ruth, the classmate who killed herself, Kana begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home.  But news of another tragedy sends her world spinning out of control.

Orchards is a contemplative, beautifully written book that will evoke important conversations about some very important topics.    (NH Isinglass Teen Award nominee, 2013)

SUBJECTS:     Novels in verse.
                        Suicide -- Fiction.
                        Racially mixed people -- Fiction.
                        Japan -- Fiction.

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