The Blossom and the Firefly (Hardcover)
From the award-winning author of Flygirl comes this powerful WWII romance between two Japanese teens caught in the cogs of an unwinnable war, perfect for fans of Salt to the Sea, Lovely War, and Code Name Verity.
Japan 1945. Taro is a talented violinist and a kamikaze pilot in the days before his first and only mission. He believes he is ready to die for his country . . . until he meets Hana. Hana hasn't been the same since the day she was buried alive in a collapsed trench during a bomb raid. She wonders if it would have been better to have died that day . . . until she meets Taro.
A song will bring them together. The war will tear them apart. Is it possible to live an entire lifetime in eight short days?
Sherri L. Smith has been called "an author with astonishing range" and "a stellar storyteller" by E. Lockhart, the New York Times-bestselling author of We Were Liars, and "a truly talented writer" by Jacqueline Woodson, the National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming. Here, with achingly beautiful prose, Smith weaves a tale of love in the face of death, of hope in the face of tragedy, set against a backdrop of the waning days of the Pacific War.
About the Author
Sherri L. Smith is the author of several novels for young adults, including the critically acclaimed Flygirl, Orleans, and Pasadena, as well as the middle-grade novel The Toymaker's Apprentice. She teaches creative writing at Goddard College and Hamline University and lives in Los Angeles, California.
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year
A Golden Kite Award Winner
A Texas TAYSHAS Reading List Selection
A Junior Library Guild Selection
“Delicate and incandescent by turns, this jewel of a tale of war and love is breathtakingly courageous.”—Elizabeth Wein, bestselling author of Code Name Verity
“Sherri L. Smith continues to astound with The Blossom and the Firefly, an exquisite novel that shines with compassion and empathy as it illuminates the numbing terror of war and the healing power of music and love.”—Laura Ruby, Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist for Bone Gap
“A beautiful, poignant, and heartrending journey of two souls toward an appalling inevitability. With the most delicate of touches, Sherri L. Smith creates a meticulous portrait of a nation and two of its children deceived, driven, and undone by the hubris of authoritarian rule. A gentle love story and a horrific warning for the ages.”—Matt Killeen, author of Orphan Monster Spy
“A sensitive and lyrical tale, full of redemption, sacrifice, and hope. Sherri L. Smith excels at shining a light into dusty corners of history, this time giving us an intimate look at the human cost of war in 1945 Japan. A stirring, sparkling gem of a novel.”—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of Outrun the Moon
“Written in gorgeous, lyrical prose, The Blossom and the Firefly transports readers to the impending doom hovering over an air base in Japan during the final days of World War II. This little-known slice of history comes alive through the voices of Nadeshiko girl Hana and tokkō pilot Taro, two teenagers whose sense of duty to their country is equal only to their shared feelings of loss as they hover between life and death. Many a tear will be shed over these pages. Absolutely stunning.”—Kip Wilson, author of White Rose
★"Impeccably researched . . . fast-paced and compelling."—School Library Journal, starred review
★"Through meticulous research, Smith immerses her readers in a war narrative not often told to American readers, as well as a conflict-filled love story."—The Horn Book, starred review
“This absorbing historical novel, set in Japan during eight days in 1945, thrusts two teens in the midst of war into a charged romance.”—Publishers Weekly
“A pensive depiction of young love and endurance amid wartime uncertainty.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Smith’s beautifully written book examines the strength and limits of patriotism, while also being a quiet portrait of deep love . . . This is the kind of high-stakes love story that will leave readers stressed and sighing in equal measure, yet grateful to have seen the portrait of these two lives.”—Booklist
“[Hana and Taro's] short time together easily lends the story the sighs and swoons of a doomed romance, but their relationship is not so much star-crossed as it is a genuine depiction of two terrified kids finding a respite, however brief, from the hopelessness of war.”—BCCB