#ARC #Review: #GirlatWar, by @NovicSara

Girl at War

Title: Girl at War
Author: Sara Nović
Rating: 5/5 stars

Zagreb, summer of 1991. Ten-year-old Ana Juric is a carefree tomboy who runs the streets of Croatia’s capital with her best friend, Luka, takes care of her baby sister, Rahela, and idolizes her father. But as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, soccer games and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire and air raid drills. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Ana is lost to a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to America becomes her only chance for survival.

Ten years later Ana is a college student in New York. She’s been hiding her past from her boyfriend, her friends, and most especially herself. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, she returns alone to Croatia, where she must rediscover the place that was once her home and search for the ghosts of those she’s lost. With generosity, intelligence, and sheer storytelling talent, Sara Nović’s first novel confronts the enduring impact of war, and the enduring bonds of country and friendship. (description from Goodreads)

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*Please note this is a review for an ARC provided for honest review*

When starting this book, I didn’t expect the experience I had from reading it. Girl at War is a beautifully written, intense, and captivating début novel. If I hadn’t known this was Nović’s début, I’d have assumed there was a backlist to check out. There isn’t, yet, though. This author is just that talented from the start.

The first person narrative was key to drawing the reader into the experiences of being a child during a war. Ana is trying to have a childhood in a city that’s being bombed from the air. Her family has just enough rationed food to not waste away. And there’s always a lingering knowledge that a loved one might not walk through the door at the end of the day. Along with all of this, Rahela, Ana’s baby sister’s health is a major concern tearing at the family. This is troublesome for any person to live through, but for a ten-year-old, it’s a very impressionable time. Nović portrayal of this child in a war-torn setting had me closing the book every now and then just to absorb it all, knowing that this was the childhood of many kids only a few decades ago, and in places around the world today.

I also thought that after the initial set-up of Ana’s childhood, jumping to her in her twenties in New York City. Ana’s juggling college, a relationship, and memories of her past effecting her more and more each day. With this and flashback scenes, the reader gets the full scope of Ana’s life journey and her journey to heal, to look for answers, to not forget.

This book, its setting, its characters, and the gorgeous writing, it will stay with me for a long time. It has been a long time since a book has had an effect on me like Girl at War has. It may have ruined me for whatever book I read next. And I’m ok with that.

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This book will be released on May 12th. If you’re interested in pre-ordering it, you can do so from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Sara was born in 1987 and has lived in the United States and Croatia. She recently graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University, where she studied fiction and literary translation. She is the fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine and teaches writing at Columbia University and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lives in Queens.

Find out more:

2 responses to “#ARC #Review: #GirlatWar, by @NovicSara

  1. Pingback: #NewRelease: Girl at War, by @NovicSara | A Life Among The Pages

  2. Pingback: 2015 Recap: Books Read – The Highlights | A Life Among The Pages

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