INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai
Kirkus Star

INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN

Age Range: 9 - 12
Email this review

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 BEST BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: EXPLORING THE PAST:

ChildrenORANI by Claire A. Nivola
by Claire A. Nivola
ChildrenAROUND THE WORLD by Matt Phelan
by Matt Phelan
ChildrenTHE CHESHIRE CHEESE CAT by Carmen Agra Deedy
by Carmen Agra Deedy

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for BLITZED
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for EXIT WEST
VERDICT:
BUY IT
Cover art for BASEBALL GENIUS
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE LONELY ONES by Kelsey Sutton
by Kelsey Sutton
ChildrenCLOUDWISH by Fiona Wood
by Fiona Wood
ChildrenDEEP SEA by Annika Thor
by Annika Thor
ChildrenTHE RED PENCIL by Andrea Davis Pinkney
by Andrea Davis Pinkney