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Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
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Listen, Slowly (2015)

by Thanhha Lai

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3062255,475 (4.02)19

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Twelve-year-old Mai can't wait for summer: she's headed straight to the beach with her friend Montana, and hopes she'll see her crush ("him") too - but then her parents drop a bombshell: Mai will be going to Vietnam to accompany her grandmother, who is seeking closure on her husband's disappearance during the war. Mai is furious, but has no choice. Fortunately, it might be a short trip: once her grandmother accepts that her grandfather is gone for good, they can come right back home to California.

Mai is a typically self-centered tween with overachieving, do-gooder parents (a lawyer and a doctor). Mai is a high achiever herself, but was looking forward to her summer break, and feels unfairly put-upon; she also suffers some major culture shock, from the heat in Vietnam to the lack of Internet to the busy city streets, where drivers of all types of vehicles seem to eschew the normal rules of the road. She is also being bitten to death by mosquitoes, and can't speak the language (though she can understand more than she lets on). Mai toughens up a bit as she is forced to deal with a completely new setting; she also truly loves her grandmother and wants to support her.

A detective has tracked down the guard who last saw Mai's grandfather, and reports that he left a message for her grandmother, but he can't bring them the message; they have to go to it.

Mai's summer in Vietnam is an eye-opening, empathy-building experience for her, and she develops an interest in her own family history and the Vietnamese language. Her transformation isn't unrealistic, however; she still checks FB when she can, and gets involved in a local love triangle. ( )
  JennyArch | Oct 31, 2018 |
Listen, Slowly is a coming age story about a Vietnamese-American girl named Mai who has plans to spend the summer at the beach with her best friend but instead must accompany her grandmother to Vietnam to find out if her husband is still alive. The overall story is enjoyable and the author brings Vietnam to life so the reader can imagine being there. However, the use of capital letters every time Mai thinks about the guy she likes was distracting. Mai shows growth in the story but she is hard to take at first. With the character development Listen, Slowly is worth a read. ( )
  Rachael_Robbins | Jul 21, 2018 |
This wonderful book is narrated by twelve year old Mai as she accompanies her grandmother back to Vietnam to visit for the first time since immigrating to the United States after the war. Mai has convinced everyone that she doesn't understand Vietnamese, and refuses to speak it with her family. She is furious that she has to miss the most important summer with her friends to go back to Hanoi. She spends the next month and a half learning about where she came from, who she is and what is most important.
  rhod4 | Jul 6, 2018 |
This is the story of a girl named Mia born and raised in L.A, from Vietnamese parents. She consider her self an American girl, and she wasn't interested in learning anything about her background. Until her parents had to take her to Vietnam for the summer, and that's when learned how to love and respect her roots. ( )
  lg503 | May 26, 2018 |
A slower read than some of the books I've read lately but a lovely story about a girl, two cultures, a family story, and a mystery. ( )
  mpettit7974 | Dec 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thanhha Laiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lam, LuluNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Teens (grades 6+)
LA 26
2015
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Assisting her grandmother's investigation of her grandfather's fate during the Vietnam War, Mai struggles to adapt to an unfamiliar culture while redefining her sense of family.

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