book review: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai | another diverse middle grade you should add to your TBR!

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Inside Out & Back AgainInside Out & Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

read in July 2018

format: paperback

rating: 4 stars

This is a spoiler-free review!


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.


Inside Out & Back Again is a diverse middle grade novel about a girl named Hà. We follow her and her family’s journey to the United States, needing to flee Vietnam as a result of the war.

Many aspects of this novel are inspired by the author’s life. She too immigrated from Vietnam to Alabama. The author’s note was beautiful and stresses why people ought to read this book. It’s an #OwnVoices portrayal of the racism, bullying, etc. When this family move to the USA, for instance, they have to change their religion in order to have a chance at leaving the tent city. Once they’re in Alabama, they’re baptised without their consent.

I love that the author was able to convey emotions and information through poetry. Because this is written in verse, this was an incredibly fast-paced yet nonetheless meaningful read.

Hà was a great protagonist. She’s feisty and funny, but she is also emotional and smart. The author did a great job at creating three-dimensional characters and I would absolutely suggest you pick this up if you are looking for a quick yet thought-provoking read.

content and trigger warnings for missing/deceased father, war, immigration, refugees, animal death, bullying, racism, religion (Christianity)


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