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Extended Audio Sample Girl at War: A Novel, by Sara Nović Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sara Nović Narrator: Julia Whela Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Zagreb, 1991. Ana Juric 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 Novic fearlessly shows the impact of war on one young girl—and its legacy on all of us. It’s a precocious debut by a writer who has stared into recent history to find a story that continues to resonate today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An unforgettable portrait of how war forever changes the life of the individual.”

    Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Intimate, crushingly brutal, and beautiful…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, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[A] gripping debut novel…Nović, in tender and eloquent prose, explores the challenge of how to live even after one has survived.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Sara Novic’s outstanding first novel…Girl at War performs the miracle of making the stories of broken lives in a distant country feel as large and universal as myth. It is a brutal novel, but a beautiful one.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “As Nović gradually reveals, you can take the girl out of the war zone, but you can’t take the war zone out of the girl…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)

  • “Using concrete details both large and small, Nović captures the searing pain of war and its aftermath with poignant clarity.”


  • “The essence of war is in the details, and Croatian-born Nović’s debut novel delivers a finely honed sense of what the bloodshed really meant for those who withstood it…Nović’s heartbreaking book is all the more effective for its use of personal rather than sensational detail and will be embraced by a wide range of readers.”

    Library Journal

  • “Understated, self-assured…Elegiac, and understandably if unrelievedly so, with a matter-of-factness about death and uprootedness.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “What happens when war explodes around a child? Sara Novic’s debut novel is told from the point of view of ten-year-old Ana Juric, and Julia Whelan’s heartbreaking performance of it leaves no doubt about the answer…Whelan’s reading reflects the nail-biting tension. Her Balkan accents feel right, and her character voice for Ana ages appropriately when the story jumps ahead a decade to America…Whelan’s understated, poignant delivery ensures that listeners won’t soon forget this coming-of-age story.


  • Girl at War depicts the still-fresh nightmare of the Yugoslavian civil war, survived by a girl much too young to know all she knows. Sara 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.”

    Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges

  • “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

  • A BookPage Top Pick for May 2015 in Debut Fiction
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
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About the Author

Sara Nović has lived in the United States and Croatia. She graduated from the MFA program at Columbia University, where she studied fiction and translation. She is the fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine and teaches writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lives in Queens, New York.