Listen, Slowly

Listen, Slowly

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
713   0
Write Review
Listen, Slowly
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
February 17, 2015
ISBN
9780062229182
Buy This Book
      
Listen, Slowly is a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year! This remarkable and bestselling novel from Thanhha Lai, author of the National Book Award–winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family. A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0  (1)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A  (0)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Going Home

Mai is NOT happy that she has to go to Vietnam for the summer, since she and her friend Montana have plans to hang out at the beach all summer near their homes in Laguna, California. Mai's grandmother (Ba) wants to return to her native country because she thinks that her husband (Ong), missing in action in 1966, might still be alive, a belief reinforced by a Vietnamese detective. Mai's mother is a high powered lawyer with a case to argue, and her father spends time in the mountains of Vietnam, repairing cleft palates and performing other minor operations, so it is left to Mai to stay and help her grandmother. Visiting her grandmother's village, Mai meets a host of relatives, including a cousin her age, Ut. Mai gets to experience the hot, sticky climate of Vietnam, the endless food pressed on them by well-meaning relatives, and lots of village customs. Since she can understand the language better than she can speak it, and has some help translating from Minh, a boy her age who has gone to school in Texas, she is able to understand what is going on around her. Her grandmother is told that her husband left a message for her, but finding out where this is takes some detective work as well as a difficult journey for the two, but her grandmother is finally able to accept the passing of her much beloved husband.

Good Points
This was a quite fascinating look at what life is like in Vietnam, and the family's connection to the country is explored in interesting ways. When an author is able to give a very detailed description of the food, traditions, and lifestyle of another country, it's not only interesting, but information. Young readers, many of whom have never been outside their own state, can learn a lot from such books.

I loved that Mai was irritated with her parents and grandmother even though she loves them dearly and knows they are good people-- that quality of being so irritated that one flops down on a bed and screams into a pillow is so uniquely middle grade, and made this story extremely relateable. Also adding to the appeal for middle grade readers was the small side story on Mai's relationship with her friend Montana, and her concern that Montana would gain the affection of a boy she liked.

Reader who like to read books that let them travel from their armchairs, such as Krishnaswami's The Grand Plan to Fix Everything (India), Lin's Dumpling Days or the Students Across the Seven Seas series will delight in this opportunity to not only travel to Vietnam, but to spend time there with family!
Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World
"Well-behaved women seldom make history." —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Fairy Mom and Me
From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series and the...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Picture Us in the Light
Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Time Tracers
Twelve-year-old Taj Carter is on a high-stakes mission to track...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Screenshot
Skye's social media game is always on point. Until her...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Better Together (Heartwood Hotel, #3)
Spring has come to Fernwood Forest, and the Heartwood Hotel...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sky in the Deep
A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is...
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Devils Unto Dust
Keep together. Keep your eyes open. Keep your wits...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
All The Things We Lost
After her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old Katie finds herself in...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
White Rabbit
Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving, delivers another...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Worst Fairy Godmother Ever!
Q: What do you need to become a great fairy...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ada: Aegis Default
Newly famous and burdened with responsibility, Ada Anand has to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ada: Solstice Volition
When Ada Anand is given a very special gift for...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Drum Roll, Please
Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ignite
Four strangers. Four powerful elements. To survive a ruthless...
 
3.5
 
5.0 (1)

Latest Member Reviews

The Crystal of Rea Silvia. Aki and the Spheres of Time #4
 
5.0
"The book was just simply great! Surprises, twists and stuffs! Well I just loved Aki and his amazing adventures!..."
The Crystal of Rea Silvia. Aki and the Spheres of Time #4
 
5.0
"This exciting fourth adventure begins with Aki learning about a startling family secret and having to choose between telling the..."
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
 
4.5
"'Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13' by Barbara Roman, illustrated by Vladimir Cebu, is a sweet..."
Sal the Seagull Stole My Lunch
 
4.2
"This one is a lot of fun. Joe and Mary are getting ready to have a picnic at..."
 
4.8
"As a mother and tutor for young children, I highly recommend this novel to add to your children's book shelves...."
The Year Santa Stubbed His Toe
 
4.0
"Santa has always been there to deliver gifts to the good boys and girls around the world, but this year,..."
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
 
N/A
"Have you ever noticed how people are like light bulbs? They come in many sizes and shapes, varying in their..."
Felipe Femur
 
5.0
"While this book in occupied by a cast of monsters, it is far from scary. It is also not solely..."
The Crystal Of Atum. Aki and the Spheres of Time #3
 
5.0
"I am so pleased by The Crystal of Atum. I love Aki and the Spheres of Time series. This book..."
The Crystal Of Atum. Aki and the Spheres of Time #3
 
4.8
"This is Aki’s third trip with the Sphere of Time. As usual, he ends up nowhere near the spot where..."
City of Grit and Gold
 
4.3
"'City of Grit and Gold' by Maud Macrory Powell offers a glimpse into the lives of those who came from..."
Good Boy, Achilles!
 
5.0
"Very nice book."
The Pathway to Dragons: The Portal to Pyranis
 
3.5
"'The Pathway to Dragons: The Portal to Pyranis' by Hannah Hoffman is more than your run-of-the-mill fantasy story. When Billy..."
Keys To The Sun
 
3.8
"‘Keys to the Sun’ tells the adventures of two brothers, Lucas and Parker Chase. They are in New Orléans to..."
Death, Diamonds, And Dirty Socks Series:  Cheating Death:  Book 3
 
3.5
"Jarod's tenure as Lord Greenwood gets even more complicated when he and Tommy figure out that each object has information..."
Death, Diamonds, And Dirty Socks Series:  Mischief Before Mastery:  Book 2
 
3.5
"Since Jarod was made Lord Kentwood, his extended family is being kept at the mansion for fear that someone will..."
Death, Diamonds, And Dirty Socks Series: Priceless Inheritance:  Book 1
 
3.3
"Jarod's dysfunctional family is gathered for the reading of his grandfather's will. Jarod misses his grandfather, but the other are..."
The Crystal Of Nammu. Aki and the Spheres of Time #2
 
4.8
"I had great expectations for the second installment of the series Aki and the Spheres of Time and I enjoy..."
The Crystal Of Yggdrasil. Aki and the Spheres of Time #1
 
4.6
"An amazing surprise. Finished in almost one sitting. This should give an idea about how surprising it was. This is..."
The Crystal Of Nammu. Aki and the Spheres of Time #2
 
4.8
"This book is very entertaining with engaging characters and surprises at every turn. It was action packed, lots of fun,..."