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Roots and Wings Hardcover – May 13, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385735001
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,661,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Grace, 14, has grown up knowing very little about her family and the traditions of her Cambodian ancestors. Then her grandmother dies, and she and her mother go to Florida for the funeral. Grace has never been to a Buddhist temple, she has never met the people her grandmother was close to, and she has never been told why her mother and grandmother left Florida for Pennsylvania. Grace doesn't even know who her father is. Embraced by her grandmother's old friends, she begins to learn about her heritage and about her grandmother's difficult life. She also discovers secrets about her mother's past and the identity of her father. The author peppers the text with Cambodian terms but doesn't explain them. Readers may feel as lost and confused as Grace is when thrust blindly into Cambodian society. The book is beautifully written, but readers will have to sift through the unfamiliar language to get through to the story. Still, the author allows family secrets to unfold carefully and explores them with sincerity.—Julianna M. Helt, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When Grandma dies in Pennsylvania, 14-year-old Grace and her mom take the ashes back to the Cambodian immigrant community in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the traditional funeral. Why did her mother and grandmother leave St. Petersburg before Grace was born? Why didn’t they return before this? Grace grabs the chance to explore her roots and search for her father. The cultural detail nearly overwhelms the story (along with the funeral, there’s a  traditional wedding going on with multiple rehearsals and rituals). But, as in Ly’s first novel, Home is East (2005), the immigrant experience is part of the family drama, which includes a look at what Grandma escaped from in Cambodia. More than politics, the novel is about family secrets, and Grace’s search for her father is, of course, the elemental search for herself. As she goes forward in the story, she discovers shame, spite, hurt, anger, and love across generations—and, finally, forgiveness and understanding. Grades 6-10. --Hazel Rochman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After her grandmother dies, Grace finds herself and her mom on a trip to the Cambodian community of St. Petersburg, Florida, to give her grandmother a proper funeral. But Grace plans on using her first trip to a Cambodian community for more than just a funeral. She plans on solving some mysteries, like why she's never met her father, and why her mom and grandma left St. Petersburg to begin with.

Once in St. Petersburg, Grace is warmly welcomed by her mom's old friends but judged harshly by others due to a family history she had very little to do with. As her family mysteries are slowly solved, Grace finds herself falling farther away from her mother -- and all she can do is wonder how anything can ever be the same.

All I can say is that ROOTS AND WINGS is amazing. I knew nothing of the Cambodian culture before I read this but I could still relate immensely to Grace and the struggles she was facing. The different reactions she faced from the members of the community, along with the different parts of her history she discovered, all worked together to create an appealing and thoughtful novel about the hardships and love of the Cambodian culture that anyone, Cambodian or not, can enjoy.

Reviewed by: Harmony
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Format: Hardcover
Like the other readers, I knew nothing about Cambodian culture before reading this book. However, I love Asian culture, so it was the primary reason I gave it a shot. (Now I know how to politely greet someone in Khmer by saying 'chumreap suor'!)

The main character, Grace, is instantly captivating. After her grandmother's death, she finds herself discovering more about her mother and her roots, as well as trying to find her father who has never been a part of her life. She is a realistic, believable character who can be empathized with by the reader, whether they have faced her struggles or not.

The story itself is a straightforward slice of life/coming of age tale, but done with great detail and character development that makes it come alive. I look forward to more novels from Many Ly, and I highly recommend giving this book a chance!
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Format: Hardcover
Many Ly's ROOTS AND WINGS tells of teen Grace and her mother who travel back to the Cambodian community in Florida to busy her grandmother. But Grace is also on a mission to uncover mysteries bout her family roots - and discovers more mystery and realities than she'd expected. An excellent story of Cambodian culture emerges.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was really good. I got very connected to the characters and learned a lot about a culture that I did not previously know a lot about. I really thought Grace's struggles were realistic and could feel her pain throughout the story and the resoultion was very satisfying.
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