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text 2014-04-10 14:00
Monthly Key Word Challenge ~ March {Completed}
Miss Happiness And Miss Flower - Rumer Godden
The Forever Affair - Catherine George,George
Forever and a Day (Emilie Loring #34) (B... Forever and a Day (Emilie Loring #34) (Bantam Books #QL2404) - Emilie Loring
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai
Sky Jumpers - Peggy Eddleman
Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) - Veronica Rossi
If I Stay - Gayle Forman
Eye of the Storm - Kate Messner

Monthly Key Words: Flower, Forever, Inside, Sky, Stay, Storm


Most exciting YA ~ Under the Never Sky


Most exciting younger YA ~ Eye of the Storm


Most exciting younger YA with equally good sequel ~ Sky Jumpers, Book 1


Most dated, but interesting ~ Forever and a Day


Most dated, but annoying ~ Forever Affair


Sweetest ~ Miss Happiness and Miss Flower


Based on author's life ~ Inside Out and Back Again


Most disappointing ~ If I Stay

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review 2014-03-30 22:44
Mini Book Review: Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai
Review: I stayed away from free verse poetry for a majority of my life. Now, in my wizened old age, I have built a healthy relationship and have a new-found respect for the format.  My love for Thuy Trang spurred my interest in Vietnam. I've taken a great interest in the Vietnam War due to this pop culture fascination. Many of the customs and the culture ideals were familiar to me due to my past research into the Vietnam world. However, newcomers to the Vietnam culture will still be able to understand most of the events and the holidays in the book.  
Ha is the narrator of the story. Since this is free verse, the storytelling is told from her point of view. It is a very painful story of a young refugee from Vietnam. Uprooted from her home and sanctioned in not-too-friendly Southern USA. I was very touched by the realism and honest emotion of the story. I was disappointed by some of the missed opportunities by the novel, since the story does focus on bullying and racism.  However, the author wrote about her own experiences, weaving her own tale into the novel, so the novel takes a more realistic approach, instead of an all-around moral-of-the-story novel. 
It is easy to see why this was a Newbery honor book. This is a forthright novel discussing racism and war sanctions. 




Source: www.great-imaginations.com/2014/03/mini-book-reviews-inside-out-and-back.html
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review 2014-02-11 00:00
Inside Out and Back Again
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai This was a beautiful poem. Everything about the way Thanhha Lai shares her story rings genuinely heartbreaking. When she shows us Vietnam through the eyes of Ha, with her temper and her sharp innocence, the family portrait that's unwrapped before us is one that is lightly and lovingly sketched, even amidst the confusion that surrounds Ha in this immediately post-Saigon setting. You promptly understand the depth of Ha's brothers and mother and father and neighbors and their emotions with the placing of a handful of phrases each, even while Ha is just discovering this. For me this was profound -- as an author, Lai shows how simple it could be to peer into one other's emotions, even in a scary or unpredictable world.
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review 2013-11-12 00:05
Inside Out and Back Again
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai

Plot Summary: Ha has lived in Vietnam all her life, but when war approaches her hometown of Saigon, she and her family flee to safety in the United States. The journey is treacherous and adjusting to the American way of life is incredibly difficult for Ha. Told through prose poetry, this moving story shows a side of America that most Americans have never and will never experience for themselves. 


Thanhha Lai Speaks about Inside Out and Back Again



Review: I am not a big fan of poetry, so I was not really looking forward to reading this book. However, I was pleasantly to find that I loved this story - and I think that telling it through prose poetry was a brilliant decision. The poems in this book are so simple, yet beautiful, and they describe the incredibly difficult experiences that Ha has with a sense of innocence and clarity. 


Ha is such an adorable character. It was so interesting to see America through her eyes. Her preconceptions of America are so funny: she expects everyone to be a cowboy and eagerly looks forward to having her own pony, and she's incredibly disappointed when she learns that this is just not going to happen. It really makes the reader aware of the fact that our own preconceptions of other countries/cultures must not be completely accurate, either. At the same time, some of the things that Ha goes through are heartbreaking, especially considering that many of them happened to the author herself. 


I think that this is a must-read. It is incredibly relevant as society grows more diverse and it tells an important story quickly and in a way that is easily understood. In addition to having a great message, this is just a truly enjoyable story to read. I loved it!


Recommended to: As you can probably tell from my review, I would recommend this book to just about anyone. More specifically, I feel that this book would be particularly of interest to an urban library, or one serving an especially diverse area, but I also believe that it would be great to include in the collection of a library serving an area that lacks diversity, because it could introduce patrons to a perspective that they may not have the opportunity to encounter. I think that it would be especially pertinent to patrons who have come to America from another country, as it could help them feel less alone in a strange land, since it's told by someone who's had the same experience. 

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review 2013-10-07 01:33
Inside Out and Back Again
Inside Out and Back Again - Thanhha Lai

Let's start with the part the jacket neglects to mention: this book is written entirely in verse. I don't mean that as a judgement, just a description. And a warning that if you have eyeballed the page count and used it to estimate the amount of time it will take your ten year old to read, this will actually only fill a fifth of the time.


I love how the South is portrayed in this book, where there are both good people and racist people. But the majority can't be bothered to interact with you unless you go to their church. My only real complaint is that this isn't longer. I grasp the circle she's turning this story around in, but it didn't feel done to me. I would really have enjoyed a last entry from later in her life. She's one heck of a spitfire at ten, and I wanted to know where she was headed at 18.


Also, even if you just skim this one, take the time to read her poems about trying to learn English. They are a riot.

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