However, the five year old she last saw is now gone, replaced by an older boy who does not seem to remember her. War and the post-war problems have ravaged their family, and Hang is still haunted by the things that happened. As the book goes on, we see not only her history and efforts at reuniting with her brother, Linh (now David), but also the horrors that she has seen in her life.
Hang is accompanied by LeeRoy, a boy who wants to be a cowboy and is taking the summer to try out rodeos. LeeRoy was somewhat coerced into taking her with him, but since then, he has been growing closer to her. While Hang's story is certainly at the forefront of the book, LeeRoy is a solid secondary character that becomes linked with Hang in a minor romantic plot.
What I loved: This is a truly unique story, and Hang's story leaps off the pages. It is fully engrossing. She has experienced a great deal of trauma, which is slowly revealed to the reader. As such, I think this is a valuable book about war and what follows as well as about the Vietnam War. Emotion is heavily carried through the book, and this is a truly beautiful (and heavy) read for that reason.
What left me wanting more: I would have liked to have more of David/Linh's perspective and to learn more about his life. He is very slow to even consider talking to Hang, which makes sense, but leaves us with mostly her guilt and efforts without understanding about the opposite side. As a small point, the romance was a little tertiary, and I felt like it needed to be enhanced a bit more to really get into it.
Final verdict: A moving and heartfelt read, this is a compelling story about war, mistakes, family, and loss. Would recommend for anyone looking for a engaging Vietnam War-era read and/or a story about reuniting with family and healing.