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Common Theme and Community Read

2012-13 Selected Book

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

The novel begins in 1986 outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. The hotel has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II.

It tells the story of first generation Chinese American Henry Lee and Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student during the 1940s. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship — and innocent love — that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope.