First Chapter, First Paragraph: Inside Out and Back Again

Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea asks us to share the first paragraph of a book we are reading. As you can see it’s called First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros. As readers we are often captivated or turned away by that first paragraph or two. Let’s see what you think about the first paragraph of my current read.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai was the recent winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The story features a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl whose family relocated to Alabama when the war came to her home. The story is beautifully written all in free verse. I’ll be reviewing it on Thursday.

1975: Year of the Cat

Today is Tet.

the first day

of the lunar calendar.

Every Tet

we eat sugary lotus seeds

and glutinous rice cakes.

We wear all new clothes,

even underneath.

Mother warns

how we act today

foretells the whole year.

Everyone must smile

no matter how we feel.

No one can sweep,

for why sweep away hope?

No one can splash water,

for why splash away joy?

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


About Margot

I'm also known as Joyfully Retired. I love to talk. I love to talk about books I've read, movies I've seen, places I've traveled to, people (especially my children and grandchildren), and Food. On the Quirky Girls Read blog I'm trying to read all the books that have won the major awards and then, of course, talk about them.
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10 Responses to First Chapter, First Paragraph: Inside Out and Back Again

  1. What a lovely opener! I don’t usually enjoy books written in verse (had a bad experience with one of Ellen Hopkins’ books), but this one might be the exception. Thanks for sharing.

    Here’s MY TT POST and here’s

  2. Louise says:

    Yes I would! And I’m really not the world’s biggest fan of poetry (free or otherwise). It’s getting a bit of Newberry hype I hear this book. I’ll be interested in your thoughts.

  3. JoAnn says:

    I’d definitely keep reading… will look forward to your review.

  4. I would keep reading. I have come to really like novels written in verse.

  5. kaye says:

    Oh I would read it, it sounds lovely. I can’t wait for your review.

  6. Kaye says:

    I’m afraid that didn’t do it for me.

  7. Debbie says:

    No. Not fond of poetry.

  8. I’ve seen incredible reviews of this book and now I can see why!

  9. jehara says:

    I have only read two books written in verse, but I really enjoyed them. I liked this opening. I’d keep reading.

  10. I love this intro; I would definitely try the book:)

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