Reviews and Reception

Los Angeles Times:


Assimilation isn’t an easy experience, but it’s rare that readers are given an opportunity to experience its specifics, and rarer still to hear it from a Vietnamese perspective. Lai’s fictionalized portrait of Hà may not become as well-known as the Pulitzer-Prize-winning photograph of 9-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc running naked and burning from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. But just as that picture was worth a thousand words, Lai’s “Inside Out & Back Again” paints another, much-needed portrait — one that humanizes what otherwise would be a history-book experience.” ― Review by Susan Carpenter

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Kirkus Review:


An enlightening, poignant and unexpectedly funny novel in verse is rooted in the author’s childhood experiences.”

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Publishers Weekly:


Lai gives insight into cultural and physical landscapes, as well as a finely honed portrait of Hà’s family as they await word about Hà’s POW father and face difficult choices”

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“Based in Lai’s personal experience, this first novel captures a child-refugee’s struggle with rare honesty.”
— ALA Booklist 


“Ha’s voice is full of humor and hope.” — School Library Journal


“This is a book that asks the reader to be careful, to pay attention, to sigh at the end.” — Kathi Appelt


“A protagonist so strong, loving, and vivid I longed to hand her a wedge of freshly cut papaya.” — Mitali Perkins 



Inside Out and Back Again’s Homepage

Sabrina Pierce ’20

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