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Sixteen-year-old Danny Vo, a Vietnamese boy living in Houston, must reconcile his American school, his traditional Vietnamese home life, his concern for his cousin--a member of a Vietnamese street gang--and his love for a girl whose brother is a vicious racist.
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SHERRY GARLAND is the author of many award-winning novels and picture books, including Indio, The Last Rainmaker. She lives in central Texas. www.sherrygarland.comFrom Booklist:
Gr. 6-12. Danny Vo was a young child when his family emigrated from Vietnam. Now he feels torn between his obligations as the eldest son and his desire to be fully American. When Sang Le, his 18-year-old cousin, comes to live with the family after spending years in "reeducation" and refugee camps, Danny's problems accelerate. Because Sang Le's English is so poor, he is unable to get a job and is failing his high school classes. He is shocked by what he perceives as American indolence and waste and believes the old Vietnamese way is better. Even so, he joins a gang that preys on Asian merchants. Danny's younger sister, Kim, rejects tradition, dresses like a tart, and runs away. Sang Le loves Hong, a traditional Vietnamese girl, but she admires Danny. Danny loves Tiffany, an all-American girl whose brother is a skinhead. Ba, Danny's grandmother, devotes her life to keeping the family traditions and lore intact, and she berates her grandchildren constantly because of their American ways. This is a complex coming-of-age story that takes the problems and loves of the young protagonists seriously and lets the innate goodness of the characters shine through all their mistakes. When Sang Le is ambushed and killed by skinheads, his death seems a tragedy that diminishes not only his family, but also the country that never quite found a place for him. Excellent characterizations and a complex, believable plot are blended into a moving story of the immigrant experience. Sheilamae O'Hara
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