Author: Thanhha Lai
# Of Pages: 272
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Rating: 4 Hearts
This is a touching story about the journey of a ten year-old girl named Ha, and her family as they deal with the affects of war and the changes it brings to their lives.
The story is actually based on author Thanhha Lai’s real life experiences as a child.
Told in free verse and divided into four main sections the story flowed seamlessly from one part to the next.
This book focuses on Ha and her family (her three brother and her mother) who flee from Vietnam during the war and end up living in Alabama where they are forced to start over. When Ha starts at a new school where nobody understands her and talks to her like she’s dumb, we get to see the frustration of dealing with a language barrier. We also get to see the power of friendship, which doesn’t always need words.
Ha was one tough cookie for ten years old. She was strong willed and full of emotion, she was spunky, funny, and able to bring humor to some hard situations.
The one thing I found hard to follow was the brothers’ names: Quang, Vu, and Khoi. For some reason I couldn’t keep them straight and didn’t know who was being talked about, until I learned to identify them by personality rather than name.
This was a quick read that took just a little over an hour from start to finish. For such a short book it sure is full of love, life, and loss. I highly recommend you pick it up! I’ll be on the lookout for anything more written by Thanhha in the future.