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by Ann E. Burg


School Library Journal:

Gr 6–8— In 1977, 12-year-old 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’s adoptive family adores him, and he is the star pitcher for his middle school baseball team, but there are those who see his face and blame him for the deaths of the young men they lost in the war. The fractured theme runs the course of this short novel in verse: Matt’s family, the bodies and hearts of the Vietnam vets, the country that is “only a pocketful of broken pieces” that Matt carries inside him. Ultimately, everything broken is revealed as nonetheless valuable. While most of the selections read less like poems and more like simple prose, the story is a lovely, moving one. Use this in a history class or paired with Katherine Applegate’s Home of the Brave (Feiwel & Friends, 2007).—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO –Heather M. Campbell (Reviewed May 1, 2009) (School Library Journal, vol 55, issue 5, p101)


  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Older Readers Category: 2009
  • Jefferson Cup Award
  • Notable Books for a Global Society: 2010
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2010
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: I’m New Here Myself (2013)


6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, Ages 9-12, Family, Loss, Teen, Vietnam War