Girl at War

Girl at War

A Novel

eBook - 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.

Praise for Girl at War

"Outstanding . . . Girl at War performs the miracle of making the stories of broken lives in a distant country feel as large and universal as myth." -- The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

"[An] old-fashioned page-turner that will demand all of the reader's attention, happily given. A debut novel that astonishes." -- Vanity Fair

"Shattering . . . The book begins with what deserves to become one of contemporary literature's more memorable opening lines. The sentences that follow are equally as lyrical as a folk lament and as taut as metal wire wrapped through an electrified fence." -- USA Today

"Gripping . . . Nović, in tender and eloquent prose, explores the challenge of how to live even after one has survived."-- O: The Oprah Magazine

"Powerful and vividly wrought . . . Nović writes about horrors with an elegant understatement. In cool, accomplished sentences, we are met with the gravity, brutality and even the mundaneness of war and loss as well as the enduring capacity to live." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Intimate and immense . . . a writer whose own gravity and talent anchor this novel." -- The New York Times

"An important and profoundly moving reading experience." --The National

"Remarkable." --Julia Glass, The Boston Globe

"[A] powerful, gorgeous debut novel." --Adam Johnson, The Week

"An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual . . . a writer working with deep reserves of talent, heart, and mind." --Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812996357
Characteristics: 1 online resource.


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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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.

FederalWayEdna 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."

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.

Jan 29, 2016

Absolutely amazing, fascinating - hard to put down once I started reading! SO worth the nights you will stay awake reading.. ;)
I grew up in Basel, Switzerland and was 10 in 1991, not too far from Croatia, but in a bubble of safety, security and very naive about the world at the time. This is incredible to learn about so many years later. Very sad in many ways, and so helpful when considering foster children or adopted children out of challenging situations while growing up. Love the book!!!

Dec 18, 2015

The story of a ten year old girl's experience in the Civil War in Yugoslavia. It is presented from the point of view of the girl, both as a child and also as an adult years later. A quick undemanding read but it still manages to pack a punch. War is never pretty.

Nov 30, 2015

Tried to give this book an honest effort but couldn"t get pass the 2nd chapter. I hope other readers have better luck

Jul 29, 2015

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 and the store clerk unexpectedly asks her if she wants Croatian or Serbian.


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