Butterfly Yellow
In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

Butterfly Yellow Details

TitleButterfly Yellow
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 3rd, 2019
PublisherHarperCollins
ISBN-139780062229236
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Butterfly Yellow Review

  • Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
    January 1, 1970
    Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...The BuzzI have wanted to branch out and read some of the more lesser written about Asian cultures. But I had to wait for them to appear in the book community! I was really super excited to hear about Butterfly Yellow and it's Vietnamese immigrant story!And I just loved the title and the cover!! It's not straightforward but with the way Butterfly Yellow reads I think its perfect. It's all about language and expressing oneself when you are most d Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...The BuzzI have wanted to branch out and read some of the more lesser written about Asian cultures. But I had to wait for them to appear in the book community! I was really super excited to hear about Butterfly Yellow and it's Vietnamese immigrant story!And I just loved the title and the cover!! It's not straightforward but with the way Butterfly Yellow reads I think its perfect. It's all about language and expressing oneself when you are most desperate for your loved one to understand you. It's quite symbolic and is a treasure for anyone's shelf!The PremiseAs Butterfly Yellow is a historical novel set 6 years after the Việt Nam War, I wasn't sure what to expect. I worried that the writing would be heavy and the pace slow, trying to hearken to a time that is no longer. I couldn't have been more off base... Because the first thing I want to rave about is the magnificent writing!!-The pace is super swift in the beginning. We get a sense of Hằng's mission, meet LeeRoy and find Linh by 32%!! Yes, its setup was strong and heartfelt too. -The multiple POVs made the story pop. I'm not sure Hằng or LeeRoy made for very sympathetic characters at first. I really appreciated that! This could have gotten really sickeningly sweet, but instead we come to love these two as we got to know them and they got to know each other. And that's smart writing!! Plus the few extra limited POVs added a touch of depth to their part of Butterfly Yellow. -The use of language makes Butterfly Yellow special. At first it was just really neat Vietnamese language references. Then we get into some serious language exploration. Rap and poetry comes to play. As well as a little heard of occupation. This is a stellar reason to read!There is also the lovely relationship that develops between Hằng and LeeRoy due to her brother. Hằng lost her brother through her own naivete about Americans. After a harrowing trip as a refugee, she finally joins her uncle in Texas. Her goal isn't to settle into a new life... it's to find her little brother, Linh. LeeRoy becomes instrumental in her being able to reconnect with the boy. -I also loved the vintage feel to Butterfly Yellow being set in the not so distant past. This was heightened due to the Texas cowboy and ranch culture that twined through the story too.-Hằng (her family) and LeeRoy's obsession with Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was super cute. Look for those references!-We do get Hằng's immigration story too. It makes me heart sick for others who make this harrowing journey! I can totally imagine how desperate and overwhelmingly hopeful you've got to be to take those risks.My ExperienceAs you can see I love all the different threads that Thanhha Lai wove through Butterfly Yellow!! I am so, so, so glad that her story was my first Vietnamese experience. It would make an excellent first experience for anyone who wants to learn a little about what Vietnamese people or immigrants to America go through. Also anyone learning a language will find this a fascinating experience.While there is a lot to love in Butterfly Yellow I believe if the story wasn't centered on our focused Hằng and certain LeeRoy it wouldn't have been such a powerful read for me. What sets it apart from other immigrant reads is that for Hằng a better life wasn't complete without the last member of her family. And his happiness played into each one of her decisions. LeeRoy being at her side while he worked to fix his truck taught him what was important! Oh what a beautiful thing it was...Butterfly Yellow is more than an immigrant story. It's more than a historical novel set 6 years after the Việt Nam War. It's more than a story about friendship and family. It's a story about culture, language and love too! You should read this if you love compelling character driven stories...⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World BuildingA+ Cover & Title gradeThanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.______________________You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. Read my special perspective under the typewriter on my reviews...Please like this review if you enjoyed it! *bow* *bow* It helps me out a ton!!
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  • Richie Partington
    January 1, 1970
    Richie’s Picks: BUTTERFLY YELLOW by Thanhhà Lai, HarperCollins, September 2019, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-06-222921-2“Up to 70 dead after boat capsizes trying to reach Europe from Libya”-- headline from earlier this month“I will remember youWill you remember me?”--Sarah McLachlan (1995)“In the final days of the war in April 1975, Hằng thought she was so clever, devising a way to flee while her family strategized and worried. Every day newspapers printed stories about Americans panicking to save hundred Richie’s Picks: BUTTERFLY YELLOW by Thanhhà Lai, HarperCollins, September 2019, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-06-222921-2“Up to 70 dead after boat capsizes trying to reach Europe from Libya”-- headline from earlier this month“I will remember youWill you remember me?”--Sarah McLachlan (1995)“In the final days of the war in April 1975, Hằng thought she was so clever, devising a way to flee while her family strategized and worried. Every day newspapers printed stories about Americans panicking to save hundreds of orphans. There was even an official name, Operation Babylift. She assumed she and her brother would go first, then somehow her family would join them in America. But in line at the airport she was rejected, a twelve-year-old passing as eight. Linh was five, three to foreign eyes, just young enough to be accepted as an orphan. Hằng saw little Linh thrashing as he was carried into a Pan Am.By the time her brother was ripped from her, nobody cared to hear why she lied. With so many scrambling to flee before the victorious Communists marched in, one more screaming child was just that. An American volunteer with puffy, sweaty hands must have felt sorry for her. He pressed a card into her palm as he pushed her away from the ladder. Sun rays radiated through each strand of his mango-colored hair. She had to stop an impulse to extinguish the fiery puff of gold threads on his head. He was the last to board. Hằng screamed until the Pan Am blended into the sky and left a long loose-curl cloud. For hours, until dusk enveloped her and mosquitoes chased her home, she focused skyward and pleaded for forgiveness. When she opened her palm, the card had disintegrated except for one clue: 405 Mesquite Street, Amarillo, Texas.Returning home that day, she faced her grandmother with a confession sinking down her tongue. Upon hearing the three words, ‘Em mất rồi,’ he is gone, Bà immediately puckered her lips as if biting a lemon and was helpless against the red rimming around her eyes. After a long lumpy exhale, she concluded her grandson had been kidnapped.Only Hằng, her mother, and Bà remained in the house after the war. They were told her father had been killed shortly before the winning north rolled their tanks into the southern capital. Her mother sank into bed and stayed. But Bà, vowing they would not become a house of weeping women, wrote down the beginning of hundreds of steps needed to reclaim her grandson. First, they must save money. Next, they must write to her uncle in Dallas, telling him to go to the address. Hằng never corrected Bà’s assumption. During the day, as Bà clicked her nails and plotted, Hằng could pretend innocence. After all, Bà didn’t ask, how did they get to the airport? Were there other children? Who thought he was an orphan? Why didn’t Hằng scratch, bite, and scream to keep her brother beside her? It was so easy to stay quiet as Bà provided herself with answers. But while crickets sang and Bà snored beside her, the lie streaked through Hằng’s blood and deposited ashy guilt inside every crevice. The gray guilt had grown heavy, refusing to pause its relentless infusion into her joints and marrow. After all, it was her fault her brother was taken.”Six years later, in the summer of 1981, Hằng makes it halfway around the world to Texas. By now, her mother and grandmother Bà are dead. There is just the uncle in Texas, who was unable to locate Linh at the address on that business card. He expects eighteen-year-old Hằng to behave like an obedient child. But with all those years of guilt weighing on her, nothing is going to stop this young woman from completing the reunion of siblings for which she is so desperate. Ignoring her uncle, Hằng boards a Greyhound for Amarillo. But she gets carsick and then fails to get back on board in time before the bus departs after a rest stop break.Out there in the middle of nowhere, fate brings Hằng together with LeeRoy, a high school graduate and city boy from Austin whose desire is to become a cowboy rather than follow the college path his educated parents have advocated. He’s just left home in search of his dream. This odd pair of eighteen-year-olds ends up traveling together in search of Hằng’s brother. BUTTERFLY YELLOW is the sweet and incredibly comedic story of what happens after they catch up with Linh.After a while, you can imagine something happening between these eighteen-year-olds who come to rely upon one another on many levels. But, in terms of boyfriend-and-girlfriend matters, both Hằng and LeeRoy are totally clueless. Their innocence coupled with their bantering and LeeRoy’s adolescent thought processes make this such a fun read. I would be comfortable sharing this one with the younger end of the YA crowd.The story takes place long ago, but the plight of wartime refugees is still in today’s news. Through Hằng’s story, readers get some intense views at what it’s like to try to escape war at any cost, and how precious it is--back then and, still, today--to find a home in America.Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/[email protected]
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    That cover and that synopsis...I can't even
  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    I recently read an ARC of this wonderful upcoming novel about a Vietnamese young woman arriving in the U.S. several years after the Viet Nam War. She is searching for her little brother who was in one of the last rescue airlifts of children. A series of unusual circumstances finds her in the company of a "wanna-be" cowboy headed to meet his rodeo idol. This beautifully written redemption story brought me to tears. In turn, Lai's exquisite writing also had me laughing aloud because she brings the I recently read an ARC of this wonderful upcoming novel about a Vietnamese young woman arriving in the U.S. several years after the Viet Nam War. She is searching for her little brother who was in one of the last rescue airlifts of children. A series of unusual circumstances finds her in the company of a "wanna-be" cowboy headed to meet his rodeo idol. This beautifully written redemption story brought me to tears. In turn, Lai's exquisite writing also had me laughing aloud because she brings these unique characters to life so vividly that I could both see them and hear their voices. This is a YA novel that needs to be in every school library. If I were still teaching YA Literature classes I'd put it on my multi-cultural recommended reading list.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusHằng's brother, Linh, was taken in Operation Babylift in 1975, and Hằng was left behind. She has felt guilty ever since, and after six years, at the age of 18, has finally made it to the U.S. She is to live with an uncle, but shortly after arriving, she has her cousin drive her to the bus stop so that she can go to an address in Amarillo, Texas to find her brother. She misses getting back on the bus during a break. Another traveler, LeeRoy, is at the gas station, E ARC provided by Edelweiss PlusHằng's brother, Linh, was taken in Operation Babylift in 1975, and Hằng was left behind. She has felt guilty ever since, and after six years, at the age of 18, has finally made it to the U.S. She is to live with an uncle, but shortly after arriving, she has her cousin drive her to the bus stop so that she can go to an address in Amarillo, Texas to find her brother. She misses getting back on the bus during a break. Another traveler, LeeRoy, is at the gas station, on his way to meet a famous rodeo rider, hoping to get work on the man's ranch. His parents, both college professors, would rather he go to Yale, but he thinks the cowboy life is romantic. This is something he shares with Hằng, who loves the idea of horses in the US west. An elderly couple give LeeRoy money for him to take Hằng to the address she has, and he does so unwillingly. When the two get there, the house is abandoned, but a neighbor lady takes Hằng in and shows her a Christmas card from the woman who has adopted Linh. LeeRoy is unsuccessful at meeting his idol, and ends up taking Hằng to her brother. Linh has no memory of her, and his mother is ready to call the police. Hằng's uncle arrives, and after an odd string of events, LeeRoy and Hằng end up working at the horse ranch where Linh (now David) is taking riding lessons while the two earn enough money to fix LeeRoy's car. Mr. Morgan gives LeeRoy a chance to find out about real cowboy life, and Hằng gets to have some interaction with her brother, and revels in growing fruit and vegetables. Hằng slowly improves her English language abilities, gets to know her brother a bit, and develops a gentle romance with LeeRoy while trying to establish a new life in the US. Strengths: I would love to see more books about Vietnam refugees in the US; I can't think of a single one but Paterson's 1988 Park's Quest. Lai is very clever about the way she writes Hằng's dialogue-- it has a Vietnamese flavor to the words, complete with diacritical markings. I also enjoyed Hằng diagramming sentences! Her love of her brother, and her desire to reconnect with him is as understandable as his lack of desire to connect with her. The scenes on the horse ranch are interesting, and the Texas landscape a good setting. Weaknesses: Hằng's dialogue was difficult for me to decipher, and students might have even more problems. LeeRoy is a very odd and not very likable character. What I really think: While I need books on this topic, I am not sure that this is the title I need. I have a friend whose aunt and uncle (who were estranged from his side of the family for different reasons) adopted a Vietnamese child around this time period and raised her on their Iowa farm. That is more what I was looking for. While both LeeRoy and Hằng are eighteen, this is definitely a middle grade book. Perhaps if the story were told through Linh's eyes? Just not sure about this one.
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  • Krisette Spangler
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsHang, which means moon in Vietnamese, has been waiting six years to escape communist controlled Vietnam to get to her brother. She has sacrificed so much to make it to Texas, but her reunion is not what she expected. Her little bother is now eleven and has a new family. Hang is heart broken, but determined to regain her connection with her brother.The story is sweet and touching. This is the second book I've read by Ms. Lai, and I love her writing. I would have given the book 5 stars, b 4.5 starsHang, which means moon in Vietnamese, has been waiting six years to escape communist controlled Vietnam to get to her brother. She has sacrificed so much to make it to Texas, but her reunion is not what she expected. Her little bother is now eleven and has a new family. Hang is heart broken, but determined to regain her connection with her brother.The story is sweet and touching. This is the second book I've read by Ms. Lai, and I love her writing. I would have given the book 5 stars, but I subtracted ½ a star for mild language and mild situations. It's always good for me to read these books about the plight of refugees from other countries. It reminds me to feel grateful for the blessings I enjoy everyday. This is my favorite quote:"But Ba believed life is long, the universe will deliver justice, eventually. Ba chose to cultivate a life. Steered her sons from becoming soldiers, tended to her garden, stared into love and hate, beauty and ugliness, joy and anguish, healing and pain. To seek one is to accept the other, like chopsticks. Everything has a pair.At any time in any place an act of horror is being committed. At any time in any place an act of sublimity is being felt. Each circulating, sniffing the other like dogs, but one cannot destroy the other."
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  • Skip
    January 1, 1970
    Hằng's takes her 5-year old brother, Linh, to be airlifted out of Saigon in 1975 (Operation Babylift), with Hằng left behind in Vietnam. She has felt guilty ever since, and gathers enough money to come to the U.S. after six years. Along her arduous route, she is eventually helped by a wannabe cowboy, LeeRoy. They go to a small town in Texas, where Linh (now David) is assimilated, and wants nothing to do with her, and Lee Roy is their only bond. However, for me, the book did not work for two reas Hằng's takes her 5-year old brother, Linh, to be airlifted out of Saigon in 1975 (Operation Babylift), with Hằng left behind in Vietnam. She has felt guilty ever since, and gathers enough money to come to the U.S. after six years. Along her arduous route, she is eventually helped by a wannabe cowboy, LeeRoy. They go to a small town in Texas, where Linh (now David) is assimilated, and wants nothing to do with her, and Lee Roy is their only bond. However, for me, the book did not work for two reasons: (1) Hằng's English was much too hard to understand, and (2) the backstory of Hằng's trip to the U.S. as a refugee seemed more important than the family issues and main story.
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  • DaNae
    January 1, 1970
    Not what I expected, but such a joyful surprise. I loved that it balanced out the extreme trauma of Hằng's recent past, with a present narrative of full of prickly relationships and unexpected moments. As a teen I would have swooned over the romance of it all.
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  • Audreygold
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful well written story of a Hang, a young Vietnamese refugee, that comes to Texas to find her little brother -- only to find he doesn't remember her. The story is both tragic and funny (think Holes by Louis Sachar) as she meets a wanna be cowboy LeeRoy (Ly-Roi). I love how the book includes some Vietnamese language and her struggle to pronounce English . Wish there had been more perspective from David (Linh) - her brother of what he thought. This novel is definitely deserving of theNewbe A wonderful well written story of a Hang, a young Vietnamese refugee, that comes to Texas to find her little brother -- only to find he doesn't remember her. The story is both tragic and funny (think Holes by Louis Sachar) as she meets a wanna be cowboy LeeRoy (Ly-Roi). I love how the book includes some Vietnamese language and her struggle to pronounce English . Wish there had been more perspective from David (Linh) - her brother of what he thought. This novel is definitely deserving of theNewberry Honor Winner and National Book Awards it has garnered. Hang's journey to America is heartbreaking and her strength and determination inspiring.
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  • Liza Wiemer
    January 1, 1970
    A gripping novel that is rich on details, describing the harrowing struggle for survival as Hằng tries to reconnect with her brother Linh after six years of being a part. He's in America and has a new family. Hằng is the sister who sent him away from their home country of Vietnam. What she endured to find him shows the power of the human spirit in the absolute worst conditions.Filled with heart, readers will explore the horrors of war, hate, family, friendship, and a sweet budding love story tha A gripping novel that is rich on details, describing the harrowing struggle for survival as Hằng tries to reconnect with her brother Linh after six years of being a part. He's in America and has a new family. Hằng is the sister who sent him away from their home country of Vietnam. What she endured to find him shows the power of the human spirit in the absolute worst conditions.Filled with heart, readers will explore the horrors of war, hate, family, friendship, and a sweet budding love story that will leave readers hopeful.Highly recommend this audiobook!
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  • Bettina Mayer
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved “Butterfly Yellow,” by Thanhha Lai. In some ways it reminded me of “News of the World” with its very moving depiction of the relationship that develops between two people from very different backgrounds and the beautiful descriptions of the lands they inhabit. It is, at times, heartbreaking and, at times, very funny. The two protagonists who generally tell their stories in alternating chapters are two 18 year-olds, Hang, a Vietnamese refugee and LeeRoy an aspiring cowboy from I absolutely loved “Butterfly Yellow,” by Thanhha Lai. In some ways it reminded me of “News of the World” with its very moving depiction of the relationship that develops between two people from very different backgrounds and the beautiful descriptions of the lands they inhabit. It is, at times, heartbreaking and, at times, very funny. The two protagonists who generally tell their stories in alternating chapters are two 18 year-olds, Hang, a Vietnamese refugee and LeeRoy an aspiring cowboy from Austin who are on very different life journeys. Hang’s journey as a Vietnamese refugee in search of her brother, is harrowing and driven but unfolds in beautiful and lyrical language. LeeRoy’s journey as a wannabe cowboy is a lighter counterbalance. Their interactions with each other are frequently hilarious and often powerful. The third protagonist in the book is the land, specifically the very different landscapes of Vietnam and Texas and the characters’ relationship to it and the individuals who inhabit it. This is a very important book about an aspect of the Vietnamese refugee experience that I knew nothing about. In this day and age, a fuller understanding of what drives refugees to flee their countries of origin is very relevant.
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  • Rachel Lipkin
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I don’t even know where to start. The writing is beautiful and abundant. The characters feel like your friends. The plot is epic and sad and beautiful. It was a fantastic read. What an adventure.
  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    It’s 1981 and 18-year-old Hằng has just arrived in the United States, a refugee of the Việt Nam War. Her uncle is heartbroken at the deaths of Hằng’s parents and grandmother, and is determine to take his niece into his Texas home. But Hằng is equally determined to find the younger brother who was taken to the United States six years ago by a well-meaning preacher, a separation for which she blames herself. A chance meeting with LeeRoy, recent high school graduate and wannabe-cowboy, sets a serie It’s 1981 and 18-year-old Hằng has just arrived in the United States, a refugee of the Việt Nam War. Her uncle is heartbroken at the deaths of Hằng’s parents and grandmother, and is determine to take his niece into his Texas home. But Hằng is equally determined to find the younger brother who was taken to the United States six years ago by a well-meaning preacher, a separation for which she blames herself. A chance meeting with LeeRoy, recent high school graduate and wannabe-cowboy, sets a series of events into motion that can stretch plausibility at times, but that ultimately leads to a rich and rewarding story. Hằng has repressed many of the horrific memories of the war, and the way that she oh-so-slowly gets to a point where she can start to heal is entirely believable. Thanhhà Lại‘s note about her inspiration for Hằng’s story adds context to this quietly powerful novel.Thanks to Edelweiss for the digital ARC.
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  • JJ.
    January 1, 1970
    This summary alone breaks my heart.
  • Abby Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Thanhha Lai's first YA book is a powerful, rich story about a teen Vietnam War refugee searching for her younger brother in Texas in 1981. Separated as children, Hang's brother Lihn was sent to the US as a small child and adopted by an American family. Now that Hang has finally completed her treacherous journey to the United States to join an uncle living in Texas, her quest is to find the younger brother she accidentally abandoned. She struggles on her journey in the US and ends up getting relu Thanhha Lai's first YA book is a powerful, rich story about a teen Vietnam War refugee searching for her younger brother in Texas in 1981. Separated as children, Hang's brother Lihn was sent to the US as a small child and adopted by an American family. Now that Hang has finally completed her treacherous journey to the United States to join an uncle living in Texas, her quest is to find the younger brother she accidentally abandoned. She struggles on her journey in the US and ends up getting reluctant help from a wannabe cowboy LeeRoy, who helps her find the ranch that Lihn is living on. But it's been years and when she does find Lihn, he does not remember her or his early childhood in Vietnam. Hang is such a determined, courageous character with a strong spirit. Her English is written in phonetic Vietnamese syllables as she struggles to wrap her tongue around the words, making it sometimes slow reading. But LeeRoy, her reluctant white knight, can always understand her and often helps "translate". It's a strong choice, forcing English-speaking readers to slow down and consider the challenge of communicating in a new language with rules and pronunciation much different than one's native language. LeeRoy and Hang's slow-burning friendship and strengthening relationship is artfully done - it's a pairing that neither character would have considered, but it feels right as they learn about each other throughout the story. Hand this to readers interested in refugee stories that don't shy away from the harsh aftermath of war and readers looking for strong, stubborn, well-developed female protagonists.
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  • Casey the Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Harper Collins for the free advance copy of this book.Near the end of the Vietnam War, Hằng's brother Linh is separated from their family, sent to America with a rescue group. Six years later, she makes the horrific journey to Texas to find him. Along the way, she gets a ride from LeeRoy, a city boy who dreams of being a cowboy. What Hằng didn't expect was that Linh would not remember her, their family, or Vietnam once she finds him. I can honestly say I've never read anything like BUT Thanks to Harper Collins for the free advance copy of this book.Near the end of the Vietnam War, Hằng's brother Linh is separated from their family, sent to America with a rescue group. Six years later, she makes the horrific journey to Texas to find him. Along the way, she gets a ride from LeeRoy, a city boy who dreams of being a cowboy. What Hằng didn't expect was that Linh would not remember her, their family, or Vietnam once she finds him. I can honestly say I've never read anything like BUTTERFLY YELLOW. As far as I can recall, I've never read any YA about the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and certainly not from the perspective of a young girl who survived it. It covers PTSD, family separation, language barriers and more. One of the most unique things about this book is the way Hằng's voice is shown on the page. Her dialogue is written as the Vietnamese syllables that match the English words. It's a bit slow to read, but it showed me how frustrating it was for her to try to make herself understood. It's really an incredible authorial choice and I loved it - not in the least because I now have a better understanding of how the diacritical marks affect pronunciation. LeeRoy I found to be a bit less compelling than Hằng. He was certainly sweet but I grew tired of his wannabe-cowboy thing quickly. I wasn't really sure why he stuck around to help either, beyond needing to be there for the plot. The slow unfolding of Hằng's full experience in the war and boat travel to America rang true to what I know about repressed memories and PTSD. Her gradual realization of her own story and how much she could and should tell others made this book into so much more than your average YA boy-meets-girl.
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  • Whitney
    January 1, 1970
    No rating because I DNF’d it. I may revisit this at a later date, but I’ve read 50% and the characters aren’t sympathetic for me. LeeRoy is a wannabe cowboy with every stereotype about being a Texan in his character and he’s NOT EVEN FROM TEXAS! H (there isn’t a way for me to type it correctly) has a story that’s more compelling, but her two moods are “I’m sorry I gave my brother a better life even if it means I’m not in it” and moodiness. I have yet to see any genuine happiness from this charac No rating because I DNF’d it. I may revisit this at a later date, but I’ve read 50% and the characters aren’t sympathetic for me. LeeRoy is a wannabe cowboy with every stereotype about being a Texan in his character and he’s NOT EVEN FROM TEXAS! H (there isn’t a way for me to type it correctly) has a story that’s more compelling, but her two moods are “I’m sorry I gave my brother a better life even if it means I’m not in it” and moodiness. I have yet to see any genuine happiness from this character. Also, it was starting to become a love story and I’m not here for it. Inside Out and Back Again was much better because it had a singular focus and did that well. This has two and both suffer because the other exists. Disappointed. I really wanted to like this one.
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars. This audiobook was just beautifully narrated. Hằng’s story was just so sad and guilt ridden that it was difficult to listen to. And once she found her brother, with Lee Roy’s help, it became even sadder since Linh didn’t remember her. Her perseverance and struggles in getting to know her brother while learning English and adjusting to this country gave one the understanding of what some refugees had to go through. And her ptsd made everything that much harder. I did have quibbles with 3.5 Stars. This audiobook was just beautifully narrated. Hằng’s story was just so sad and guilt ridden that it was difficult to listen to. And once she found her brother, with Lee Roy’s help, it became even sadder since Linh didn’t remember her. Her perseverance and struggles in getting to know her brother while learning English and adjusting to this country gave one the understanding of what some refugees had to go through. And her ptsd made everything that much harder. I did have quibbles with some of the plotting but overall I enjoyed this audiobook.
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  • Tasha
    January 1, 1970
    Hang has lived with the fact that she was responsible for her little brother being taken away to American in the last days of the Vietnam War. She had hoped for them both to be taken together, but instead he was ripped screaming from her. Now, six years later, Hang has come to the United States herself and is determined to find her little brother by following the only clue she has, an address on a card. Not finding anyone at the address, Hang is helped by an urban cowboy, LeeRoy, who longs to ri Hang has lived with the fact that she was responsible for her little brother being taken away to American in the last days of the Vietnam War. She had hoped for them both to be taken together, but instead he was ripped screaming from her. Now, six years later, Hang has come to the United States herself and is determined to find her little brother by following the only clue she has, an address on a card. Not finding anyone at the address, Hang is helped by an urban cowboy, LeeRoy, who longs to ride in rodeos and follow his dreams. LeeRoy is quickly caught up in Hang’s quest and the two of them discover her brother with some lucky help along the way. But that is just the beginning of a summer spent laboring on a farm together, learning about the work of being a cowboy, and finding ways to connect their pasts and their present.The first chapters of the this book and many of them throughout are so laced with pain and ache that readers will feel it in their own bones. Lai tells the story of Hang in bursts of memory, escaping from the tight hold Hang has over them. The reader and Hang are powerless as the searing memories escape, glimpses of the truth and eventually the full story of a girl strong enough to survive pirates, parasites, icy water, and war. Lai takes two very unlikely protagonists and creates a love story for them, one that captivates with its honesty and originality.Hang is one of the most remarkable protagonists I have read in years. Far from being broken by her wartime trauma, she continues to fight back, literally at times. She is raw, sarcastic and not defined by her past, but still continuing to be haunted by what happened. She is complicated and so profoundly human. Lai made a brave and smart choice to write Hang’s accented English with Vietnamese typography, echoing Hang’s own notebook that tells her own English is pronounced. Readers will struggle along with Hang at first, but join LeeRoy in understanding her quickly.Painful and traumatic, this book is filled with sweat, work and more than a little love. Appropriate for ages 14-18.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing and brilliant and beautiful book! This contemporary book is unlike most YA contemporary books I have read. It's funny, has depth, is interesting... you feel so immersed in the experience of being an immigrant to the US. I also appreciated the sticky plot that was handled so well and was surprised at some of the turns. So many YA books are disgustingly predictable and have "easy" endings, but this one did none of that and still offered a happy ending. It is a YA book, so of course there i Amazing and brilliant and beautiful book! This contemporary book is unlike most YA contemporary books I have read. It's funny, has depth, is interesting... you feel so immersed in the experience of being an immigrant to the US. I also appreciated the sticky plot that was handled so well and was surprised at some of the turns. So many YA books are disgustingly predictable and have "easy" endings, but this one did none of that and still offered a happy ending. It is a YA book, so of course there is the YA first exploration of sexuality. Some people would have issue with it, but compared to other books the sexual content in this one was pretty low.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    4.5. Fantastic. Also, while I chose "gut punch" as one of my shelves to add it to I should say the entire book isn't a gut punch, but a lot of its foundation is.
  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant! Want to know a little something about an immigrant experience? This is a good 'un. I would not be surprised if this one wins some awards. It helps to have watched the Ken Burn's documentary Vietnam to get the context.
  • Jennifer Mangler
    January 1, 1970
    This wasn't the easiest book to read because of Hằng's struggle with English, but I don't think that's a bad thing. It's also difficult to read because her story is a painful one.
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)Butterfly Yellow is a book that defies expectations. It's a story about family, making mistakes, and friendship. This #ownvoices story is one that will, at times, break you heart, but at other times, make you smile. Butterfly Yellow tells the story of Hằng, her family, and her quest to find her brother. It is a deeply emotional story about survival, determination, and love. You can't h (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)Butterfly Yellow is a book that defies expectations. It's a story about family, making mistakes, and friendship. This #ownvoices story is one that will, at times, break you heart, but at other times, make you smile. Butterfly Yellow tells the story of Hằng, her family, and her quest to find her brother. It is a deeply emotional story about survival, determination, and love. You can't help but fall in love with Hằng's courage, perseverance, and steadfast love. As her past is slowly revealed to the readers, the emotions and tears will pour out. But this isn't just a story about the perils and danger Hằng faced to flee Vietnam. It's a story about moving forwards, accepting our mistakes, and trying to fix them.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    This was a sweet story, but I found it very difficult to get into. It didn't flow well and it was hard to follow.
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Hang's brother was taken with other orphans at the end of the Vietnam War. Hang had gone to the airport in an attempt to get them both to safety, but only babies/toddlers were being taken. Linh was taken from her arms and loaded onto an airplane to America. For 6 years, her family has been struggling to find him and get him back. Now Hang is in America and has found her brother, but he doesn't seem to remember her and doesn't want to leave his adopted mother. Can Hang reconnect and build a relat Hang's brother was taken with other orphans at the end of the Vietnam War. Hang had gone to the airport in an attempt to get them both to safety, but only babies/toddlers were being taken. Linh was taken from her arms and loaded onto an airplane to America. For 6 years, her family has been struggling to find him and get him back. Now Hang is in America and has found her brother, but he doesn't seem to remember her and doesn't want to leave his adopted mother. Can Hang reconnect and build a relationship with her brother?
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  • Paula Landry
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to read an advance copy of this book - and received it at the perfect time. I'd been going through lots of serious books & popcorn/candy bar books - but hadn't had something heartwarming and moving, yet funny for a while. Butterfly Yellow was the PERFECT book at the right time. I fell in love with the protagonist, and as often happens when I really fall deep inside a book, identified with her emotions, the ups, downs, her grit, pluck - the whole thing. I happen to be a huge f I was fortunate to read an advance copy of this book - and received it at the perfect time. I'd been going through lots of serious books & popcorn/candy bar books - but hadn't had something heartwarming and moving, yet funny for a while. Butterfly Yellow was the PERFECT book at the right time. I fell in love with the protagonist, and as often happens when I really fall deep inside a book, identified with her emotions, the ups, downs, her grit, pluck - the whole thing. I happen to be a huge fan of the author - but that's not why I loved the book - this character is up against so much, and it could have been heavy or dreary, but it wasn't. I'm inspired. I'll be reading it again, on vacation since it's that enjoyable of a read. GREAT STORY and wonderful characters....
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Determined to be reunited with the brother she accidentally gave to the Vietnamese Babylift, 18-year-old Hằng endured years of planning and privation and a harrowing trip by sea before her arrival in Texas where she's rescued by a would-be cowboy LeeRoy with whom she works and waits for her brother to accept her. A gentle love story so movingly told the reader accepts some unlikely coincidences. The use of Vietnamese transliteration to give the reader the idea of how English sounds to her and ho Determined to be reunited with the brother she accidentally gave to the Vietnamese Babylift, 18-year-old Hằng endured years of planning and privation and a harrowing trip by sea before her arrival in Texas where she's rescued by a would-be cowboy LeeRoy with whom she works and waits for her brother to accept her. A gentle love story so movingly told the reader accepts some unlikely coincidences. The use of Vietnamese transliteration to give the reader the idea of how English sounds to her and how difficult it is is masterful.
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  • Christine Stamper
    January 1, 1970
    This book is specific and universal, quiet and loud, poignant yet subtle. It, like all of us, and the world we live in, contains multitudes. In the aftermath of the Việt Nam War, 18-year-old Hằng comes to America and searches for her brother that she has missed for over 6 years. The journey to family is not an easy one, but with a city cowboy named LeeRoy, a cantaloupe crop, and a horse farm allow Hằng to find peace and a new life.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    review book so no comments
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