Cover image for Beyond paradise
Beyond paradise
Hertenstein, Jane, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow Junior Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
168 pages ; 22 cm
Within months of arriving in the exotic Philippines from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, to live with her missionary parents on the island of Panay, fourteen-year-old Louise finds herself a prisoner of war in an internment camp when the Japanese invade her new country in 1941.
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X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This unusual first novel is based on true accounts of the imprisonment of American citizens in Japanese detention camps in the Philippines during World War U. Louise Keller travels with her missionary family to the Philippines on the eve of Pearl Harbor. At first the country seems like paradise, but soon Louise and her family are captured by the Japanese and forced to live in internment camps. An exciting and thought-provoking novel about human strength and weakness in wartime.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. "How would you like to go to paradise?" Louise's minister father entreats one day. "Paradise" is the tropical island of Panay in the Philippines, where the family can move to a missionary compound. It's 1941, and Louise Keller looks forward to moving any place away from her humdrum Ohio town where life with her clergy family is tightly restricted. Adventure beckons and possibilities abound in the Pacific in the beginning months, and then World War II and the Japanese invasion of the Philippines shatter the family's dreams. What follows is a harrowing account of the Japanese internment camps and Louise's gutsy endurance of an experience that certainly seems hopeless at times. The likable, well-drawn, and creative teen pens verses (which pepper the text but don't distract) and keeps an inner hope alive that good will prevail, even when she and her mother are separated from the Reverend Mr. Keller, and Mrs. Keller sinks into a bleak despair. Subplots and an accompanying cast of well-developed characters round out the book. The eventual Allied liberation is fraught with danger, but all ends well without a note of artifice or convenience in the plot. Hertenstein has researched the American civilian experience in the Philippines during the war and based this fine historical novel on actual accounts. --Anne O'Malley

Publisher's Weekly Review

While the title of this first novel might suggest otherwise, the substance of Hertenstein's story is fairly grimÄan American teenager's experience in internment camps in the Philippines during WWII. "How would you like to go to paradise?" asks Louise Keller's father, a Baptist minister who has accepted a position as a missionary on the small island of Panay. Fourteen-year-old Louise, a writer of poetry who chafes at small-town life, is eager for the change. But the new experiences Louise has dreamed of soon turn nightmarish: when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, the war, which had seemed so far away, rapidly threatens their island existence. Separated from her father, burdened with her seriously depressed mother, Louise first joins the missionaries in a makeshift camp in the jungle to hide from the invading Japanese, but they are soon captured and sent to internment camps. Louise's narration rarely sounds like a teenager's, and the prose feels overwritten in spots. And by covering such a large swath of time and introducing so many secondary characters, Hertenstein sacrifices depth for breadth; the few superficial moments of character development she grants Louise (the discovery of her grandmother's suicide; her revelation that the Japanese are human, too) feel unconnected and unconvincing. But while the story is not especially moving, it has value as an introduction to a little-known slice of American history. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Using firsthand accounts from survivors of Philippine internment camps, Hertenstein creates an interesting and unique story. Fourteen-year-old Jean Louise Keller, the daughter of a Baptist minister, moves from Ohio to a remote Philippine island when her father accepts a missionary position there. Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, he is separated from his wife and daughter. As the war moves closer, Louise and her mother escape to the jungle with others from their compound but are soon discovered by the Japanese and imprisoned. In a plot that moves rapidly through the years, Louise experiences the war from a series of detention camps, encountering other missionary families, eccentric prisoners, locals from the islands, as well as Japanese and American soldiers. She finds good and evil in unexpected places, as the author explores the complicated issue of the humanity of one's enemies. When the war ends, Louise's dreams of freedom and good food become a reality. Narrated by the young girl, an aspiring poet, the story has characters that come alive in a setting that is vividly captured. While the full horror of the camps does not come through, readers will enjoy this inspirational book.-Tim Rausch, Crescent View Middle School, Sandy, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.