Girl at War

Girl at War

A Novel

Book - 2015
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For readers of The Tiger's Wife and All the Light We Cannot See comes a powerful debut novel about a girl's coming of age-and how her sense of family, friendship, love, and belonging is profoundly shaped by war.
Zagreb, 1991. Ana Jurić is a carefree ten-year-old, living with her family in a small apartment in Croatia's capital. But that year, civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, splintering Ana's idyllic childhood. Daily life is altered by food rations and air raid drills, and soccer matches are replaced by sniper fire. Neighbors grow suspicious of one another, and Ana's sense of safety starts to fray. When the war arrives at her doorstep, Ana must find her way in a dangerous world.
New York, 2001. Ana is now a college student in Manhattan. Though she's tried to move on from her past, she can't escape her memories of war-secrets she keeps even from those closest to her. Haunted by the events that forever changed her family, Ana returns to Croatia after a decade away, hoping to make peace with the place she once called home. As she faces her ghosts, she must come to terms with her country's difficult history and the events that interrupted her childhood years before.
Moving back and forth through time, Girl at War is an honest, generous, brilliantly written novel that illuminates how history shapes the individual. Sara Nović fearlessly shows the impact of war on one young girl-and its legacy on all of us. It's a debut by a writer who has stared into recent history to find a story that continues to resonate today.
Advance praise for Girl at War
"An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual, Girl at War is a remarkable debut by a writer working with deep reserves of talent, heart, and mind." -Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story and Little Failure
"Intimate, crushingly brutal, and beautiful, Girl at War is the work of someone far more mature than her years. It constitutes signal proof that even great history is insufficient to tell the story of the twentieth century in Europe: Great fiction like this book is required, too." -Robert D. Kaplan, author of Balkan Ghosts and Asia's Cauldron
"Nović's important debut brings painfully home the jarring fact that what happens in today's headlines on a daily basis-the atrocities of wars in Africa and the Mideast-is neither new nor even particularly the worst that humankind can commit. . . . . Thanks to Nović's considerable skill, Ana's return visit to her homeland and her past is nearly as cathartic for the reader as it is for Ana." - Booklist (starred review)

"With piercing clarity and devastating wit, Sara Nović traces the enduring fallout of a childhood interrupted by conflict. Girl at War is a deeply affecting meditation on identity and memory, loss and survival, and what it means to feel at home in the world." -Jennifer duBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes
"Nović writes with ruthless understatement not only about a modern city subjected to primitive horrors, but about young Ana's subsequent war against the American urge to forget. Sentence after perfectly weighted sentence lands with the sound of a gavel. The first fifty pages might be the best fifty pages you read this year." -Jonathan Dee, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Privileges and A Thousand Pardons
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812996340
Characteristics: 320 pages : maps ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

Sara Novic’s debut is an unsentimental but moving story of a childhood disrupted by war and the scars that endure. 10-year-old Ana Juric is living in Zagreb with her family when the Balkan Wars break out. She realizes something has changed when her uncle sends her to fetch a pack of cigarettes an... Read More »

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BPLpicks Mar 13, 2019

“Girl at War,” shares the fictional story of Ana Jurić, a young Croatian girl who loses her family during the Yugoslavian civil wars. A haunting coming-of-age story where readers are taken deep into a world of darkness, guerilla warfare, loss, and survival. A harsh reminder that war does not discriminate based on age.

Jan 12, 2019

An amazing book truly one of the best of the best reads.

JCLMeganK Oct 04, 2018

When civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, Ana's family suffers the consequences. In 1991 Ana is a 10 year old Croatian girl, running through the streets of Zagreb as war advances through the country. In 2001, she is a twenty year old student living in Manhattan, learning to cope with the realities of her past and what that means for her future. I highly recommend this book. I did not know much about the history of Yugoslavia before reading this novel, and it taught me a lot about this war that happened less than thirty years ago. This book is well written, and allows the reader to understand what it is like for a child to feel the repercussions of war as they grow into adulthood.

Mar 04, 2018

This was an amazing book! I read it 2 years ago and then, today, i read it again. I chose this book for my book report because its an amazing, frightening and interesting book. I love how it showed that Ana (main character) still surfers in the future that her memories of her past life will never fade away. And that she will live with that memory forever. Now I don t want to spoil the book for anyone, if I m not making any sense.

Mar 11, 2017

Gut-wrenching story. Well-written historical fiction with interesting characters. Will read again sometime.

FW_librarian Jan 23, 2017

Written from the point of view and voice of a young woman who feels she must return to the country where she experienced horrific events and to confront her current life's decisions and relationships. The level of writing is more directed to teens but anyone who reads it will be drawn to research more about the complicated war and breakup of the Balkan countries.

Oct 12, 2016

This is another story of war written from the point of view of a child living through it. The horrors are similar to other stories on the subject but where this one is different is that the child was adopted by an American family and grew up from age 10 onwards in New York. The story flips back and forth between the past and present but manages to stay coherent and interesting.

tritonesub May 01, 2016

What a moving page turner of a book, which I couldn't put down for three days. In the words of Julia Glass included in the insightful Readers' Guide at the end of the book, this is a "story about how human beings endure, even find a way to thrive, in the face of inconsolable loss; that's what all the best fiction shows us."

kirstd31 Mar 25, 2016

This book was okay. I did not like how it skipped around.

Mar 16, 2016

Girl At War is a well written mix of a coming-of-age story, a story of war, and a story of love and remembrance. There are a number of books written from a child’s point of view with a backdrop of war and although Girl At War doesn’t have anything new to add, Ana’s story is both heartfelt and engaging and well worth picking up.

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