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Dogtag Summer

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Twelve-year-old Tracy-or Tuyet-has always felt different. The villagers in Vietnam called her con-lai, or "half-breed," because her father was an American GI. And she doesn't fit in with her adoptive family in California, either. But when Tracy and a friend discover a soldier's dogtag hidden among her father's things, it sets her past and her present on a collision course....more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Dogtag Summer offers additional perspective on the vast impact the Vietnam War had on lives around the world. Patridge does a good job bringing history to life through the experiences of Tracy, a young girl who has been adopted from Vietnam by an American soldier and his wife. As experienced through brief flashbacks that interrupt Tracy's languid summer days between elementary and middle school, the reader learns her story and the trauma she endures living as a child during the Vietnam War. This...more
"Have you ever known absolutely for sure that some piece of you was missing? A piece you buried deep inside and didn't even know was there? Then something cracked open and that missing piece flew out and left an empty, scooped-out place in you, and your heart beat with a longing so strong it sounded like a drum in your ears.

I have."

Great beginnings promise a great book, and "Dogtag Summer" delivers. Partridge follows this introduction with a compelling war story - historical young teen fiction t...more

Awards and Recognition: [Kirkus review, Notable Social Studies Trade Book 2012], Ages: 9-14

“Have you ever known absolutely for sure that some piece of you was missing?”

Tracy is looking forward to spending long, lazy summer days with her best friend, Stargazer, before they head to 7th grade in the fall. However, when they discover an old ammo box from her father’s war days in Vietnam, they unlock more than his personal belongings -- they unleash ghosts of tragedies past from which both Tracy and...more
Tracy, a half-Vietnamese, half-Anglo war orphan, was placed in a Saigon orphanage when she was 6, transported to the US as part of Operation Babylift after the Vietnam War, and adopted by a loving couple in Northern California. During the summer before 6th grade, she and her best friend find a soldier's dogtag and Tracy begins a journey of slowly remembering her life before America, her Vietnamese mother, her grandmother, her village, her war. She realizes that her adoptive father has his own me...more
I really enjoyed this book about a young Vietnamese-American girl, adopted by a U.S. couple after the Vietnam War. The story is told in first-person from the perspective of the main character, Tracy. Due to this, she is the character that is the most well-developed and the reader gets a good understanding of her feelings & motivations. However, through her interactions with secondary characters, you also get a sense of who they are, including characters that are no longer living.

My connectio...more
This is historical fiction set in 1980, flashing back to Vietnam 1975. The books many topics include: adoption, the effects of war on children, the stigma of being a 'half-breed', adults struggling with the after-effects of war, friendship. The following review from Amazon sums it up great:

"Who am I? Where do I belong? Who can I trust? These are questions that all children ask as they grow older, but for twelve-year-old Tracy these questions haunt her. In the moving story Dogtag Summer, Tracy k...more
Mary Ann
Who am I? Where do I belong? Who can I trust? These are questions that all children ask as they grow older, but for twelve-year-old Tracy these questions haunt her. In the moving story Dogtag Summer, Tracy knows that her mother was Vietnamese and she was adopted when she was six, just after the Vietnam War ended. But her parents won't share any other real information with her. So she is left with a hole in her heart, an empty place inside her.

Tracy's summer between 5th and 6th grade was supposed...more
Phyllis Rowberry
Apr 08, 2012 Phyllis Rowberry rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: tweens and up
This is billed for teens, but is a wonderful book for adults as well. It hits on so many levels; adoption, the effects of war on children, the stigma of being a 'half-breed', and more. I can't improve on this review from Amazon...

"Who am I? Where do I belong? Who can I trust? These are questions that all children ask as they grow older, but for twelve-year-old Tracy these questions haunt her. In the moving story Dogtag Summer, Tracy knows that her mother was Vietnamese and she was adopted when s...more
A historical fiction novel that takes place in 1980 in California and consists of memories that take place in 1975 in Vietnam. Tracy is blindsided by memories of her life in Vietnam and spends the summer trying to sort out her past and make sense of the present. The plot thickens when she and her friend Stargazer find an ammo box and a dogtag amongst her dad's things. Tensions soar as Tracy tries to investigate her old life and encounters resistance from her parents, especially her dad who was a...more
Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge follows 12 year old adopted Vietnamese-American Tracy over a summer of discovery as she uncovers, amid returning memories, her personal history back in Vietnam during the war.

When Tracy and a friend discover a soldier's dogtag hidden among her father's things, she grapples with suddenly returning dreams and memories of her days in Vietnam during the War and questions about being adopted and whether she belongs in America with her present family. Tracy's need...more
The Vietnam War was such an important part of our nation's history that I am often dumbfounded when students today have no awareness of that volatile time. This book will surely kindle some curiosity about that time period in today's readers. It's the summer of 1980, and 12-year-old Tracy [her Vietnamese name was Tuyet] and her best friend Stargazer plan to build a replica of a Viking ship during their summer vacation. In search of tools to aid them in the project, they stumble upon an ammo box...more
Abby Johnson
Tracy has been in America for five years now, but she still doesn't fit in and lately has been having flashbacks of the life in Vietnam that she can't quite remember. Tension from the Vietnam War permeates her family, too, as her adoptive father struggles to deal with his own army nightmares. When Tracy and her best friend Stargazer find dogtags in her father's tool shed and her father freaks out about it, she wonders if the dogtags might be a key to her hidden past. This dogtag summer will be a...more
Arthur Pengerbil
Reading Level: Grades 5-7

11-year-old Tracy has been in America for six years. She doesn't remember much about her years in Vietnam. Not until she and her friend Stargazer discover her father's old ammo box in the garage. Stargazer breaks off the lock and opens the box. Her father finds them just as they pull out the military dogtag. His cold, hard anger sends Stargazer running for home.

During that steamy summer of 1980, powerful memories come back to haunt both Tracy and her father, memories tha...more
I really liked it -- I felt like it captured the war and began to delve into the issues with refugee orphans raised by white people, although I'm pretty sure it was a little bit sugar coated. I felt like the perfect age for this book would be 7th or 8th grade, but I'm not sure to the extent their knowledge of the Vietnam war and I'm not sure how much they would grasp or the severity. Although, thinking back, I'm pretty sure I would've gotten the jist and maybe it would provide a desire to learn...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for

Tracy has never felt like she belonged. In Vietnam, she was con lai, half breed, because her father was an American GI. Life with her new family in America isn't much different.

When she and her best friend, Stargazer, stumble upon her father's old ammo box and war dogtags, they bring on a slew of questions without answers. She is flooded with memories from her past in Vietnam during the war, and she discovers more about herself than she had ever know...more
Addison Children
A nice historical fiction, coming-of-age novel for girls. Tracy always knew she was adopted. When she opens an ammo box and finds a mysterious dog tag, she starts to have flashbacks about the time before, when she was 6 years-old in war-torn Vietnam as the U.S. was about to lose its first war.
Woo! Pretty good, and nicely laid out. Girl from Vietnam has flashbacks (which are kinda distracting, which I guess is the whole point) and this sets her on edge when trying to find out truth about her adoption. Meanwhile her adopted dad is having issues cuz he a war vet. I do like the fact that she thinks of her adopted parents as her parents, since they love and care etc for her. Some really good points made in book about war without being too dogmatic one way or the other. I liked the fact ho...more
Angelina Justice
This is a great read. The book is set in the 70's and captures the turmoil that still bubbled throughout society over the Vietnam war. Our main character is an adopted child, half Vietnamese and half American. Over the summer, she begins to flash back to her last days in Vietnam. The story alternates between the present and the past, between her young teen self and her small child self.

Sometimes flashback writing can be confusing or disjointed. This book flows smoothly and leaves the reader eag...more
It was good,but there wasn't alot going on in the book. People who don't like alot going on in their book should read it.But, over all it was pretty good.

It was about how tracy and stargazer are best friends and othor little problems they have.Then they find something tracy's dad has and tracy finds stuff about her that she never even knew of.Then she and stargazer build a ship of some sort. Then something totally out of the blue happens. Then she finds othor things about her self. Then everyth...more
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
Very moving read about a young girl struggling to understand who she is. Tracy is a likable character experiencing a convincing emotional roller coaster after she finds an old ammo box in the garage. Like Pandora's box, once she opens it, life just isn't the same as it used to be, and it strains her relationship with her adoptive parents and her best friend. She has lost all sense of herself, and it has her lashing out at everyone in her fear and confusion. Great book!
Tracey and her parents don't talk about the time before she came to live with them. Her baby book begins at the age of six. But this summer she's starting remembering things and people from her time before. And her adopted father has never forgotten his time in Vietnam.

Why I started this book: I wanted to something quick... and good.

Why I finished it: I couldn't put it down and tried not to feel ackward as I cried into my sandwich at Jimmy John's today.
I don't come across many books about the Vietnam War, so I really enjoyed reading Dogtag Summer which takes place shortly after the war but has flashbacks throughout the book outlining the life of a Vietnamese woman and an American GI. Tracy is adopted by an American family. Her adoptive father fought in Vietnam, so the book also deals with what he went through. I also liked that the author put some information about the war at the end.
Elizabeth Partridge does a wonderful job of helping the reader feel and understand her characters. I felt frustration and anger of Tracy,Tuyet, Vietnamese refuge who was adopted by an American couple and struggling to figure out who she is and where she came from and where her loyalties lie. This clearly shows ho much her adopted family loves her, but also shows that she must overcome her own struggles to really be happy.
Cathy Blackler
Haunting story about love, loss, the impact of war and trying to find your place in the world. Great middle grade read. Partridge has created emotional, raw characters dealing with what life has thrown their way. The friendship between Tracy and Stargazer is one many readers will identify with and/or long for. This would be a great companion read with All the Broken Pieces and Inside Out and Back Again.
There are things you want to forget but you can't. You can bury them but they always come to light. Thinking of going into a new school with new people triggers memories and questuons Tracy didn't know she had. Over the course of summer, the past resurfaces leaving her with questions about where she belongs, if anywhere. Would go well with All The Broken Pieces by Burg and Inside Out and Back Again by Lai.
The beginning pulled me in, but the rest was just okay. I guess expected a little more from Elizabeth Partridge. My 12 year old had brought it home, and I'm not sure she ever finished it. The subject matter is a little heavy for a juvenile chapter book -- Vietnam War, war orphans with American fathers... The storyline felt more YA, although the writing was for younger kids.
Erin Sterling
Told from the perspective of a girl who was adopted from Vietnam during the Vietnam War into a white family when she was 6 and is now 11 and coming to terms with her identity. Not as good as Inside Out and Back Again, also about a Vietnamese girl living in the United States (although in that one, she isn't adopted), but a sweet coming-of-age story.
Sarah Tilatitsky
This book is pretty sad. I mean, being an outcast because of being white and Vietnamese is pretty hard to take in. One side doesn't accept the other. It hurts a lot. Also, the memories of the war comes back, and it sometimes makes it twice as hard to not feel hurt or confused by who or what a person is. This book can touch hearts. (So please read it!) ☺
A very touching story about a half-Vietnamese, half-American girl growing up in a small town on the California coast, haunted by memories from her early years in Vietnam during the war. Very well done, and the historical notes at the end of the book will help readers understand even more. This one grabbed me and wouldn't let go!
Michal Hope
If students liked All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg, this is a great recommendation. This would be great for girls as the other would be for boys. It would serve teachers well if doing a unit on identity, like some of mine choose to do at the beginning of the school year.
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