Title: Inside Out & Back Again
Author: Thanhha Lai
How did I get it? Purchased it
Other books reviewed by the same author: N/A
What’s it about? This is a middle-grade novel that follows a girl named Hà and her family as they are forced to flee their home in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Hà’s family boards a ship headed toward what they hope will be a better life in the United States. However, once they settle in Alabama, Hà and her family are met with the cold prejudice of their new neighbors. Hà and her family struggle with the loss of Hà’s father in addition to trying to adjust to their new way of life. It’s a story about loss, survival, and the challenges an immigrant faces when coming to live in the United States. This book is based on the author’s own experience as a refugee during the Vietnam war.
Thoughts: I admit that at first, I was a bit apprehensive of reading a book entirely written in verse because I haven’t had the best experience with that format. However, I think that this format added to the flow of the story. I loved that this was told from Hà’s point of view. It added even more of an impact to have this told from the eyes of an innocent child experiencing the culture shock of her new home and the struggles of trying to fit in.
“Oh, my daughter,
at times you have to fight,
not with your fists.”
Hà is very different from the other children at her school. She’s the girl that everyone makes fun of because she’s different. Hà does not let this get in her way of doing everything she can to live a better life in her new home.
This book is a very important read and very relevant given the political climate we are dealing with today in the United States. I strongly believe if more people read stories like this one it would make people take a hard look at how unfairly immigrants and refugees are treated in the United States. Thanhha Lai does a beautiful job of writing from the point of view of a ten-year-old refugee, focusing on her thoughts, fears, and dreams. I would highly recommend that everyone picks this one up. It is a fairly quick read but packs quite the emotional punch.
My Rating: ★★★★★
As always keep on reading and stay book nerdy my friends!