Girl at War

4:53:00 PM


Part coming-of-age tale, part war saga, part story of love and memory, this debut novel is haunting, hopeful, and written with the power of truth. - Delegation of the European Union to the United States

Many see Croatia as an idyllic holiday destination and do not remember or even know about the sieges it underwent when being Yugoslavia. And that was not long ago, I am talking 90s. The Yugoslavian conflict was one of the most violent in Europe since WWII. As excited as I am about finally visiting Dubrovnik this year, part of the trip will be history lessons, since I will –hopefully- take some “war tour” and indulge in some horror real stories. In Girl at War, this current paradise is non-existent, and terror fills the reader up to a point you cannot even believe such a beautiful place was brutally savaged.

In this story, we learn about the war in Croatia from a little girl’s perspective, which I find truly interesting and makes it kind of charming albeit the disrupted tone. Later on Ana is a university student in NY and her thoughts are more developed and mature so we get another glimpse of what’s going on inside the mind of a war survivor. Ana finds it hard to let go of broken memories.

“The war had been technically over for almost 10 years… but people felt abandoned by the West at that point” (Novic)

“Everyone talked to me about the way the intervention of the UN was pretty ineffective in these wars” – “There has to be a way to work with people instead of coming from above and implanting [troops]. That didn’t work. I don’t think it works anywhere”. (Novic in Vanity Fair)

The story starts with 10-year old Ana and her family and it quickly develops into a horror story as the country faces a brutal war. Road blockades, missing kids at school, refugees... We follow the lurch into a dark nightmare all the way until childhood is over and we start reading about her life in NY aged 20. Behind a false identity her persona begins to fall apart as she cannot stop thinking about her dark past. Reading Girl at War made me want to jump on a plane directly and tour Croatia from Zagreb to Dubrovnik to discover and learn about its past, while Novic documented the broken life of a Croatian living in America who eventually flies back to her country.

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3 comments to blue my mind

  1. Thanks for sharing gal.
    Do enter the JORD Giveaway honey :

  2. I've never been to these countries, but I'm happy to read this book. I think in Eastern Europe it's still fresh history.

  3. Thanks for reviewing this, I need to pick up some new summer reads :)

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