Inside Out and Back Again: Book summary and reviews of Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011
    272 pages
    Genre: Poetry

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Book Summary

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by ... and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.

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, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.

This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Awards, 2011

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny novel in verse. 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." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. The taut portrayal of Hà's emotional life is especially poignant as she cycles from feeling smart in Vietnam to struggling in the States, and finally regains academic and social confidence. An incisive portrait of human resilience. Ages 8-12." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Written in accessible, short free–verse poems, Hà’s immediate narrative describes her mistakes—both humorous and heartbreaking; and readers will be moved by Hà’s sorrow as they recognize the anguish of being the outcast." - Booklist

"Starred Review. An enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny novel in verse. 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." - Kirkus Reviews

"The taut portrayal of Hà’s emotional life is especially poignant as she cycles from feeling smart in Vietnam to struggling in the States, and finally regains academic and social confidence. An incisive portrait of human resilience." - Kathi Appelt, bestselling author of Newbery Honor Book The Underneath

"American and Vietnamese characters alike leap to life through the voice and eyes of a ten–year–old girl—a protagonist so strong, loving, and vivid I longed to hand her a wedge of freshly cut papaya." - Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People

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Reader Reviews

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Danielle

Favorite book by far!
I never knew a book could be this good! It tells of a girl who is forced to flee from Saigon, Vietnam and when she gets sponsored, goes to Alabama and learns english and goes to school. She is forced to cope with everyday challenges. If you're up for reading something new, I definitely recommend this book, 10 out of 10!

Lizzie

WOW
I loved this book, absolutely has made one of my top 10 list!!! I highly suggest this book to the younger readers for sure. This book defiantly portrays to them... very moving and uplifting.

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