Elizabeth Partridge’s Dogtag Summer tells the moving story of Tracy, or Tuyet, a Vietnamese-American girl adopted by a Vietnam veteran and his wife. During summer vacation, Tracy and her friend, Stargazer, come across an old ammo box in the family garage. When the box is opened to reveal a set of mysterious dogtags, Tracy’s past and present collide as the “ghosts” of another place come pouring out. As the book progresses, Tracy’s memories of Vietnam are gradually revealed, triggered by the dogtags and the associations they carry.
Partridge has crafted a story with rich characters, set in a tumultuous time in American history. Readers will find Tracy’s discovery of her self and her relationship with her adoptive father moving and insightful. A well-written teacher’s guide and appendix provide readers and teachers with more insight into this period in history and make Dogtag Summer a great book to add to middle school reading lists.