INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai
Kirkus Star

INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN

Age Range: 9 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

An enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny novel in verse is rooted in the author's childhood experiences. In Saigon in 1975, 10-year-old Kim Hà celebrates Tet (New Year) with her mother and three older brothers; none of them guesses at the changes the Year of the Cat will bring. (Hà’s father’s been MIA from the South Vietnamese Navy for nine years.) On the eve of the fall of Saigon, they finally decide they must escape. Free verse poems of, usually, just two to three pages tell the story. With the help of a friend, the family leaves, and they find themselves trapped at sea awaiting rescue. Only one of her brothers speaks English, but they pick America as their destination and eventually find a sponsor in Alabama. Even amid the heartbreak, the narrative is shot through with humor. Hà misunderstands much about her new home: Surely their sponsor, who always wears his cowboy hat, must have a horse somewhere. In a school full of strangers and bullies, she struggles to learn a language full of snake’s hissing and must accept that she can no longer be at the head of her class…for now. In her not-to-be-missed debut, Lai evokes a distinct time and place and presents a complex, realistic heroine whom readers will recognize, even if they haven’t found themselves in a strange new country. (Historical fiction/verse. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-196278-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2011




2011 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALISTS: YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE:

ChildrenFLESH AND BLOOD SO CHEAP by Albert Marrin
by Albert Marrin
ChildrenCHIME by Franny Billingsley
by Franny Billingsley
ChildrenOKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt
by Gary D. Schmidt

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for 17 CARNATIONS
VERDICT:
SKIP IT
Cover art for ENDANGERED
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ELECTRO-FINGER
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenDEEP SEA by Annika Thor
by Annika Thor
ChildrenRUNNING WITH TRAINS by Michael J. Rosen
by Michael J. Rosen
ChildrenTHE WEIGHT OF WATER by Sarah  Crossan
by Sarah Crossan