Listen, Slowly by Thanha Lai

Hi everybody, welcome to another week of summer book reviews!! For me, growing up, summer meant going back home for holidays to Sri Lanka to see my extended family. My siblings and I share some fond memories of those years and the connections we made then fostered the relationships we have as adults. Well, I think so anyway! This next book is about a young girl’s travels to South East Asia to learn more of her roots. I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I did!!

Listen, Slowly two children in boat one paddling other looking at flowers in water
Award-winning story

Title: Listen, slowly

Author: Thanha Lai

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Harper; NY, 2015

ISBN: 9780062229182

What this book is about: 12-year-old Mai’s parents are making her spend her vacation in Vietnam so she can learn more about her roots and help her grandmother learn what really happened to her grandfather during the Vietnam War. Since Mai barely knows the language or the customs, she is desperately counting down the days until she can go back home. But as time goes on, Mai begins to grow closer to her family and develop an understanding of a culture and and entire world that she never really knew.

My review: In this sharply funny and poignant story, Mai realizes that home is not found on a map but is instead made up of the people she calls family. I loved this story so much I cried and laughed at the same time. The story-line was often quite funny but had episodes of sadness. The characters were all amazing and their witty dialogue throughout the book kept me engaged. This story kept me mesmerized for hours. What I loved the most were the images of Vietnam it gave even though I haven’t been there!! Some of the description of the Vietnam War was quite a bit to take in, even for me, so please be warned.

My rating: 5 ⭐

Additional notes: This title was nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award in 2018.

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