by Sandra Dallastallgrass
{ 2007 | St. Martin’s Press | 320 pgs }

Tallgrass is historical fiction, a genre I don’t typically read. I probably confuse it with historical romance, which I abhor. But Tallgrass was on a list of recommended books, and I’m so glad I decided to read it.

It’s narrated by 13-year-old Rennie, a girl living in a small Colorado farming town during WWII. When a Japanese-American internment camp is set up on the outskirts of the town, the town turns ugly, feeling suspicious of and angry at the “foreigners.”

Tallgrass is masterfully written. The use of a teenager as the narrator is an excellent choice, since it allows more expression of the confusion and conflict that the townspeople feel. Although the main subject of the book is the internment camp and the war, Dallas also describes, through Rennie, the slow process of changing from a child to an adult. I really enjoyed Rennie’s realizations about what it means to be a woman, and her struggle to act as grownup as she feels.

It’s difficult to select one book from all I’ve read this year to recommend, but I think Tallgrass might be it.

Tweet: If you only read one book this year, read Sandra Dallas’s Tallgrass for an interesting perspective on WWII, acceptance, and coming-of-age.