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Karen's Year


Seventeen-year-old Karen arrives in Fukushima, Japan for her study abroad, expecting to be treated like the foreigner she is. Instead, her host parents give her what she most desires—an ibasho, a place to belong. She gets the mother she never had, the brother she’s always wanted, and a chance to use the Japanese she’s been practicing for the past four years. But when she finds a child’s jacket buried in her closet, she inadvertently reopens her new family’s old wounds.

Her host mother still misses the daughter she lost, and her host brother lets his grief dictate everything he does in life with the firm belief that he doesn’t deserve to be alive. With time ticking down to the day of her departure, it’s up to Karen to show him that this is his ibasho, too—before her year in Japan is over and she has to say goodbye.


  • 56387 words
  • About 226 pages
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