Butterfly Yellow

by Thanhhà Lại

Hang, 18, was able to get her little brother, Linh, on one of the last flights out... read more

Hang, 18, was able to get her little brother, Linh, on one of the last flights out of Viet Nam when U. S. forces fled six years before. Now she’s made it to the United States, too, driven by guilt over abandoning Linh and determined to find him. LeeRoy, 18, is a white, wealthy kid defying all family expectations with his determination to become a cowboy; his parents have given him a red pickup truck and the summer to get the crazy idea out of his system. Their paths meet at a Texas gas station, where a reluctant LeeRoy gives stranded Hang a ride. Hang finds her brother living on a ranch, but Linh, now David, has no memories of Hang, or Viet Nam, and doesn’t welcome Hang’s intrusion into his life. Hang and LeeRoy, who has a hard time saying no, get work on a neighboring ranch, where patient Hang is determined to remain in close proximity to Linh/David while waiting for him to recall some piece of their shared past. As the strangers around her become friends, Hang begins to feel safe enough for memories of her traumatic, harrowing refugee journey to surface, while LeeRoy is stripped of all pretense during a summer of humbling, muscle-building work. There is so much kindness in the characters, and at the heart of this beautiful story full of so much pain and poignancy but also so much hope. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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