Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780385739771, 336pp.
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Winner of the APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature
An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There 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 as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
About the Author
Praise For Orchards…
Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2011:
"Thompson has crafted an exquisite, thought-provoking story of grief and healing that will resonate with teen readers and give them much to discuss."
Review, Publishers Weekly, January 3, 2011:
“Eloquently captures a teenager’s anger, guilt, and sorrow after a classmate takes her own life. . . . Understated yet potent verse.”
Review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2011:
“A fast-paced page-turner that explores the rippling effects of suicide.”
Review, Booklist, January 1, 2011:
“Readers will want to talk about the big issues, especially the guilt of doing nothing.”
“Compelling. . . . Teens who enjoy learning about other cultures will relish Thompson’s ability to evoke the sights, smells, and tastes of Japan, while poetry fans will enjoy the novel’s unique format.”
Review, The Winston-Salem Journal, March 20, 2011:
"This lyrical look at bullying and the afterschocks of suicide may be gut-wrenching, but Orchards is crafted with a sensitive beauty."
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- School bullying seems to be universal. Do you believe a passive bystander can be as guilty as the person who does the over bullying?
- Who do you think the author, Holly Thompson, chose to write from the point of view of Kana, a girl who contributed to the bullying rather than the girl being bullied? And how is Ruth present as a character throughout the novel?
- Orchards is a novel in verse. Do you feel it would have the same impact, or be different, if written in prose?