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Girl at War by Sara Nović Review

Title: Girl at War

Author: Sara Nović

First published May 12, 2015

320 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780812996340 (ISBN10: 0812996348)

Rating: 4


In the summer of 1991, Ana Jurić was just a young girl living a happy life in Croatia’s capital with her family and best friend, Luka. But when civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, Ana’s childhood is shattered.

The sounds of soccer games and laughter are replaced by air raid sirens and gunfire. Suddenly, Ana finds herself caught up in a world of guerrilla warfare and child soldiers.

With her family torn apart by tragedy, Ana must embark on a dangerous journey to America in search of safety and a new life.

Ten years later, Ana is a college student in New York, trying to forget the horrors she witnessed as a child. But when her past catches up with her, Ana is forced to confront the ghosts of her past and return to Croatia, the place she once called home.

With the help of old friends and new, Ana must come to terms with her past and find a way to move forward. Girl at War is a powerful and moving story of survival, loss, and hope.

About the Author

Sara Nović has written a New York Times best-seller called TRUE BIZ, along with the novel GIRL AT WAR, which won the American Library Association Alex Award in 2015 and was a finalist for the LA Times Fiction prize. She also wrote an illustrated nonfiction collection called AMERICA IS IMMIGRANTS in 2019.

Sara is an instructor of creative writing and Deaf studies, and she lives in Philadelphia with her family. You can find her on the web, on Twitter as @novicsara, and on Instagram as @photonovic.

Editoral Review

Sara Novi’s debut novel, “Girl at War,” is a powerful and poignant work of fiction that explores the devastating effects of war on a young woman’s life. This captivating book was first published on May 12, 2015 and continues to resonate with readers to this day.

Novi’s writing style is clear and concise, allowing the story to flow easily from page to page. The book is written in two different time periods; the first half takes place in Zagreb, Croatia during the 1990s, at the height of the Yugoslav Wars, while the second half takes place in present-day New York City.

The novels main character, Ana Juric, is a young girl living in Croatia, whose life is upended by war. The novel begins with a young Ana and her best friend Luka living a carefree life in Zagreb.

They are both passionate about football and spend their days playing in the streets. However, everything changes when war breaks out and Croatia is thrown into chaos.

Ana is separated from her family, and her life is forever altered. Novi’s novel delves deep into the aftermath of war and its lasting effects on the main character.

Ana struggles to cope with her past trauma and adapt to her new life in America. The book reiterates how difficult it can be to heal and recover from tragedy, especially when the trauma is never properly addressed.

One of the strengths of the novel is the character development of Ana, who is portrayed as resilient and brave. Novi expertly charts Ana’s journey through the warzone and into adulthood, highlighting both her strengths and weaknesses.

Ana’s journey is a reminder of the importance of perseverance, hope, and resilience in the face of adversity. The novel is an important reminder of how the trauma of war impacts people for the rest of their lives.

Novi is able to expertly convey the enduring effects of trauma on Ana, and this resonates with readers long after the final page is turned. The book is also significant as it is based on Novi’s own experiences, a fact that adds a layer of authenticity to the story.

However, the book is not without its flaws. Some readers may find the pacing slow in certain parts of the novel, and the flashbacks can make the timeline of the events difficult to follow.

Additionally, while the book is a compelling work of fiction, readers looking for an action-packed war novel may be disappointed. Overall, “Girl at War” is a thought-provoking and moving novel that is worth reading.

Its themes of trauma, resilience, and the effects of war on individuals are important and timely. Novi is a talented author, and her debut novel is a testament to her abilities as a writer.

This book can be recommended to anyone who loves historical fiction and wants to gain a deeper understanding of the human experience during times of war. Rating: 4.5/5.