Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review of Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Read for: Mount TBR Print
Synopsis: "Inside Out and Back Again is a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor Book, and a winner of the National Book Award! Inspired by the author's childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama, this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child's-eye view of family and immigration.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.

This moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing received four starred reviews, including one from Kirkus which proclaimed it "enlightening, poignant, and unexpectedly funny." An author's note explains how and why Thanhha Lai translated her personal experiences into Hà's story."

My Review: I have been wanting to read this book for awhile now, and have heard a lot of great things about it. I finally did pick it up and am so glad I did, it was a beautifully written and moving tale. It makes me so happy to see such wonderful Middle Grade books out there that touch on difficult historical events and subjects and from different perspectives (especially from what we are taught in school). The flow of the verse was beautiful even when talking about painful events. I really like how the voice really fits with the age of character and how she viewed and experienced the world around her. This is a wonderful conversation starter for young readers, each will come away with a different impression of the book.
My Rating: This was a beautiful book all around, beautiful writing, beautiful cover and while the subject matter wasn't always beautiful it is still presented so beautifully.  I can't help but give this book a rating of Four Paws!


  1. I usually avoid Middlegrade but right now it seems appealing. Maybe because my brain is so fried that a simpler book would be easy on it.

    1. I feel like the MG selection has increased so much since I was a kid and am just now returning to find some really fantastic books!