The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery
Genre: Young Adult | Historical
Published by: Hot Key Books
Release date: 04/04/2020
Where to find: Goodreads | Waterstones
Summary: 1945, Hiroshima: Ichiro is a teenage boy relaxing at home with his friend Hiro. Moments later there is a blinding flash as the horrific nuclear bomb is dropped. With great bravery the two boys find Hiro’s five year-old sister Keiko in the devastated and blasted landscape. With Hiro succumbing to his wounds, Ichiro is now the only one who can take care of Keiko. But in the chaos Ichiro loses her when he sets off to find help.
Seventy years later, the loss of Keiko and his broken promise to his dying friend are haunting the old man’s fading years. Mizuki, his grandaughter, is determined to help him. As the Japanese legend goes, if you have the patience to fold 1,000 paper cranes, you will find your heart’s desire; and it turns out her grandfather has only one more origami crane to fold…
Narrated in a compelling mix of straight narrative, free verse and haiku poems, this is a haunting and powerful novel of courage and survival, with full-page illustrations by Natsko Seki.
Oh. My. God. This book was incredible. I loved everything about this book. It was so SO impactful and hard hitting and emotional and harrowing. It was so beautifully written, I spent most of my time reading this book with tears in my eyes.
I first heard about this book at a time when I thought I didn’t really like historical fiction, but I had read and loved the first two books in Kerry’s Cell 7 trilogy, so that convinced me to add this one to my TBR. Since then I have also read more historical fiction, and I have discovered that I really love historical fiction set during wars, and I became very excited to give this one a try. I’m so glad I did.
This book is told partly in verse and partly in prose. I actually didn’t know that going in. I decided to listen to the audiobook of this one, and I’m really glad I did because I really like consuming verse books via audio, so that was a pleasant surprise. This book is also told in two POVs, so the verse sections are from Mizuki’s POV, and the prose section is from her grandfather’s POV. The two POVs had different narrators, which I also really enjoyed.
In the authors note at the end of the book, Kerry talks about Hiroshima, and she asks “It was a moment in history that should still ripple through time, but was time fading it from our memories?” This really struck me because, somehow, what happened in Hiroshima was something I hadn’t heard about. I always find fiction based on true events are a really good way for me to learn about the events, and I’m sure other people are the same, so I hope we get more books like this. The Last Paper Crane has brought this tragedy to my attention, and it is now something I will never forget.
As I said earlier, this book was so emotional. It made me feel everything from sorrow and pain to hope to happiness. I love books that really make me feel, and The Last Paper Crane definitely fits that description.
Kerry Drewery has definitely found her way onto my list of autobuy authors, and also onto my list of all time favourite authors. Every book of hers I have read so far has been 5 stars.