We Are Not Free

Traci Chee

fiction historical young adult
emotional reflective fast-paced

400 pages | first published 2020

“All around me, my friends are talking, joking, laughing. Outside is the camp, the barbed wire, the guard towers, the city, the country that hates us. 

We are not free. 

But we are not alone.”  

From New York Times best-selling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes We Are Not Free, the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei,  second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II. 

Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. 

Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. 

Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps. 

In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.

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summary of 78 ratings (see reviews)

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emotional 96%
sad 64%
informative 60%
reflective 56%
challenging 40%
dark 24%
hopeful 24%
inspiring 20%
tense 16%
funny 12%
adventurous 8%
lighthearted 4%
relaxing 4%


medium 52%
slow 30%
fast 17%

Strong character development?

Yes: 68% | It's complicated: 26% | No: 5%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 86% | It's complicated: 13%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 95% | No: 4%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 52% | It's complicated: 26% | No: 21%

Average rating