Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inside Out and Back Again

Ha has always lived in Saigon with her mother and three older brothers.  Her father went off to war with the Navy so long ago that she can barely remember him, but the family hasn't given up hope yet.  Even though things are getting worse in Saigon and the communist army is getting closer, Ha doesn't want to leave her home.

When the time comes, Ha's family will flee Vietnam with more people than she can count headed for an uncertain future.  A series of spur of the moment decisions leads them Alabama.

Her new small American town is so different from Saigon, and it seems almost impossible to find a way to fit in especially when so many people don't even want to bother with their new Vietnamese neighbors.  And in the Alabama of 1975, the law may say segregation is other, but Ha feels lost somewhere in the middle.

This beautiful novel written in verse takes the reader through a child's journey, forced to immigrate by war and thrown into a new and confusing world.  Be sure to read the author's note at the end to learn how Thanhha Lai based many of the events on her own experiences.

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