The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

Published by Balzer + Bray

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

Summary:  Cora and Quinn used to be best friends.  On November 11, almost a year ago, Quinn’s brother Parker went to school with a gun and killed four people, including Cora’s older sister Mabel and himself.  The two girls haven’t spoken since, but as the new school year begins, Quinn needs to talk to Cora.  She’s been researching time travel, and has some ideas for finding a wormhole that can take them back in time to save their siblings.  Cora has the scientific curiosity and perseverance Quinn needs to make her idea a reality, so she reaches out with an unusual gift for Cora’s twelfth birthday.  Cora is intrigued, but both girls are so weighted down with grief, anger, guilt, and regrets that it’s difficult for them to reconnect.  Slowly, as the days count down to the anniversary of the shooting, they start to put pieces together and to believe that, just maybe, they can change the past and create a different present.  Includes an author’s note about how her fear and frustration around gun violence led to this book.  288 pages; grades 5-8.  

Pros:  This beautifully written, heartbreaking book told in the alternating voices of Cora and Quinn, may get more Newbery recognition for Jasmine Warga. Cora’s dad’s explanation near the end of the book of how he applies Newton’s laws of motion to grief was one of the best lessons about loss I have ever read.   

Cons:  The subject matter definitely makes this a difficult story to read.

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