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Girl at War by Sara Novic

The past is always with us. Most people even believe (correctly in my humble opinion) that the past is what makes us the people that we are today and will be in the future. It always seems that the more painful memories linger longer and are more deeply etched into our psyche than the happier ones. This is the case in this novel, Novic's first novel.

Ana is the protagonist and lives suspended in between the worlds of the living and dead. She witnessed numerous atrocities during the Croatian War of Independence. Violence quickly becomes the main staple of her life and consumes her along with her mom, dad and baby sister.  At the time that the war is occurring, she is the ripe old age of 10. At ten, she doesn't understand the magnitude of the dangers and violence that she faces so she and her best friend Luca ride bikes, go to school and try to otherwise be normal children. When it finally takes a personal toll, it's on a magnitude that can only be described as all or nothing.

We meet Ana at 20 as well, where she is a college student in NYC and refusing to discuss her history with anyone outside of her family. She is constantly aware of the pain and attempts to find a resolution to her history.

Novic is amazing in capturing the pain and inner turmoil that Ana must feel as she goes through life.  She does a wonderful job changing the voice to reflect the age, maturity and development level of her narrator. Novic's voice is remarkably self assured in detailing the horrors experienced during this war.  This is truly a remarkable and compelling story about one girl's struggle with war. 


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