Nothing says coming of age quite like choosing to follow your heart despite your father's threats to disown you if you do—which is exactly what Henry does in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. When Henry falls in love with Keiko against his father's wishes, instead of caving to his dad's desires, he starts living by his own principles and doing what he believes is right, even though this means risking alienation from his own family. Is it an easy journey? Nope—but growing up never is.
Most of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet takes place in the 1940s during World War II, and while the characters are made up, the book accurately describes the heightened tensions of the time and how hard it was to be an Asian American kid during a period of great discrimination and fear mongering. Even though Henry is Chinese American (and not Japanese), he still has to deal with a lot of hatred from strangers, plus he has to watch people mistreat Keiko and her family simply because of their Japanese heritage. And all the stuff about internment camps? Totally real.