Book Review | Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

  • Series: A Paper Stars Novel
  • Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
  • Publication Date: 29th February 2016
  • Genre: Teens, YA, Historical, Social Issues, Physical and Emotional Abuse
  • Format: eARC

Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 9781634221

Amazon | Goodreads | Author’s Page

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

NetGalley Description:

What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to – the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them” – things are finally looking up. He has hs hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naive, eighteen-year-old Nora – the provoleged daughter of a controllong and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interened Japanese Americans. But she is traped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths corssing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.

**I recieved a copy of Nora & Kettle from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What caught my attention was the cover at first – because it is the first thing you see, and what pleases the eyes tends to interest the beholder. So I clicked on it, and the description that was provided simply took me away – I wanted to find out more about the story of these two young adults and their lives.

If I had a day where I had nothing to do, without any responsibilities to take care of – I think I would have finished this within hours! I couldn’t put the book down, I was constantly on edge to find out what was going to happen next.


I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is a retelling of the beloved Peter Pan story, because it is a book and story in its own right – it tells us the harsh truth and reality about the real world, how truly behind closed doors things we cannot imagine happens, and that in the streets are lives we cannot fathom to live.

Within the first few pages of the book, we are introduced to Nora’s sheltered but troubled life – the daughter of a prestigious civil rights attorney, fighting for the civil rights of the Japanese Americans who were interened during the Seconf World War. Having lived under her abusive father for all her life, Nora has learned to hid the scars and bruises and to stya quiet for the sake of keeping her little sister, Frankie, safe from their abusive father.

The story then shifts to Kettle’s perspective, a young man who goes out of his way to provide for his family, a group of young orphans – or the Kings, or the Lost Boys. A group of children who were taken from homes/orphanages and placed into internment camps, where Kettle himself was taken to during the Second World War.

The thing that these characters have in common is the fact that they would do anything to keep their loved ones safe and alive – Nora enduring the abuse her father gives her just to keep little Frankie from enduring the same fate. While Kettle goes out of his way to find a job at the dock whenever he can so that he can provide for the children he has take under his wing.

The relationships within the book is so pure and so real that you cannot help but feel attached to each and everyone of them. The story itself is written in a way that it flows seamlessly between the perspectives of Nora and Kettle – how the book is separated to tell two different tales that comes together to create a bigger picture – painting us what it must have been like during these times for individuals like Kettle and Nora. I loved how everything unravels to paint us the bigger picture, where we have been shown pieces of the painting from different points and events in the book which later reveals the bigger picture, coming together to show us the real story behind these events.

This has been the second book this year that I found myself emotionally invested in – the way you felt like you are one with the character and you too feel the emotions and pains that they feel in that moment in time. This book basically left me reeling with emotions – be it the happy, angry, sad, satsfied and loved! All of it!

Overall, I think this book is amazing – I love it and I am in-love with it! I do not believe that my words can justify how truly amazing this book is, so I suggest that you guys read this book too. This has been an insightful read for me, as I am quite interested in history and I have studied World War II for most of my secondary school career, but I have never even thought about the Japanese American internment – and this book focuses on just that. It is often overlooked in many history books and this books sheds light towards this part of history. Nora & Kettle has been an insightful and exhilirating read, and is a book which I highly recommend.

Furthermore, I look forward to the following books of the series!


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