Sara Nović’s Girl at War is a debut coming-of-age novel about a girl growing up in the shadow of conflict. In 1991, Ana Juric is a carefree 10-year-old living with her parents in Zagreb, Croatia. When civil war breaks out, Ana’s daily life is altered by food rations, air raids, and ethnic tensions.
In 2001, Ana is a college student in New York. Although she has tried to move on from the events of her childhood, she is still haunted by her memories of war. Ana decides to return to Croatia to come to terms with her homeland.
Moving back and forth in time, Ana slowly unspools the story of how the Yugoslav War divides her household and destroys her idyllic childhood. As a young guerilla, Ana soon learns that even a child is not immune from war’s atrocities.
Girl at War is a dark, but moving, debut from Sara Nović. Only 29, Nović escaped Croatia with her family during the Yugoslav War. The author’s troubled history with her home country enriches this powerful novel.
Availability: USMAI, COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Kaitlyn Grigsby- Hall
Rating: Highly Recommended
Challenge: A book written by someone under 30.