Rummanah Aasi

Description: Matt Pin would like to forget: war torn Vietnam, bombs that fell like dead crows, and the terrible secret he left behind. But now that he is living with a caring adoptive family in the United States, he finds himself forced to confront his past. And that means choosing between silence and candor, blame and forgiveness, fear and freedom.

Review: All the Broken Pieces is a quick and effective novel in verse about a war refugee coming to terms with his past and his future. In 1977, Matt Pin lives a fractured life. He is the son of a Vietnamese woman and an American soldier and was airlifted to safety from the war zone. Adopted by a caring American couple, he has vivid and horrific memories of the war and worries about the fates of his mother and badly injured little brother. Matt is adored by his adoptive family and he realizes he has a gift for pitching, but he is constantly faced with prejudice by those around him who hold him responsible for the deaths of the young men they lost in the war. The fractured theme runs effectively throughout the book from his biological family, the bodies and hearts of the Vietnam vets, as well as the state of the United States who is broken up due to political beliefs. Unlike the other novel in verse books that I've read before, the individual poems aren't strong enough to be read independently, but that's only issue I had with this book. I think this book would be a great read for those who are looking for a refugee point of view about war and assimilating in a new country. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Matt's nightmares are filled with disturbing images of war. There are also some racial slurs sprinkled throughout the book too.

If you like this book try: Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Description: If you ask Simon Sharp how his parents died, the 14-year-old New Yorker will tell you King Arthur killed them. Obsessed with Camelot, the two scholars perished in a plane crash en route to an archaeological dig in England.
  Simon spends two awful years in an orphanage before his uncle surfaces. He offers Simon residence at a creepy mansion in Scotland where every shadow hides a surprise— including a girl, Maille Rose, who flickers in and out of view like a ghost. Maille warns Simon he’s in danger and, oh yes, he’s a descendant of King Arthur’s powerful knight, Lancelot. Uh. What?

Review: Camelot Kids contains 4 parts to this story, you can buy them individually or all in one book. The first part of this story kicks off on a good foot by introducing us to Simon and his adventure to the world of Camelot. I like how the author used the Camelot story as a jumping off point and created a new story of its own. Orphaned at a young age, bounced around foster homes and finally ending up with a rather odd uncle. Soon Simon finds out that the Camelot stories are indeed real and that he is a descendant of the famed knight Lancelot. This is where the story gets interesting and starts to really unfold. We also get introduced to a different time of Merlin, an old shadowy figure that has different plans rolling around his head. In addition to a nice solid read the illustrations in The Camelot Kids Part 1 are also great and eye catching. Overall, I found The Camelot Kids Part 1 to be an enjoyable fast paced book full of adventure, mystery and suspense, sure to grab the attention of middle grade aged kids (adults too) who are a big fan of Rick Riordan and is looking for something to read while waiting for The Sword of Summer to be released.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Knights of the Lunch Table series by Frank Cammuso, Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve
8 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I still have yet to read a book in verse Rummanah! I need to add that to my list of things to do this year! I didn't realize you could read most of the poems in a verse novel independently (except for in this case). Glad you enjoyed both of these!

  2. The first book sounds interesting to me. I don't know that much about Vietnam and I really want to know more. A verse book, hmmm....

  3. I am curious about All the Broken Pieces. I don't always like books in verse but I do like a different perspective. I'll have to keep this one in mind. The Camelot Kids looks like an excellent book and I may need to get that one for my cousins. :)

  4. As a former refugee myself, I am very curious about All the Broken Pieces and I'd really like for my kid to read it to hopefully make her understand certain things she doesn't quite grasp yet.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Kindlemom Says:

    Camelot Kids sounds like such a fun read, I think my girls would all enjoy it as well as me. Great reviews for both of these!

  6. All the Broken Pieces sounds good but I'm really intrigued by the Camelot book. It sounds like a unique and fun read.

  7. I am always looking for "boy books" but most of my male readers cannot stand books written in verse. I think I will skip All the Broken Pieces for that reason. Has summer started for you, yet?

  8. I like the sound of All the Broken Pieces, especially because I don't know much about the Vietnam War. However, I don't typically read verse novels so that might be an issue.

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