The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga [in Booklist]
Next-door neighbors Cora Hamed and Quinn McCauley’s best-friendship began in toddlerhood, but they’ve spent the last 10 months in silence. Cora’s sister Mabel is dead. Quinn’s brother Parker murdered her; he took a gun to school and killed four people, including himself.
Mourning defines the Hamed home: Cora, her Lebanese immigrant father, and her white grandmother. Angry denial rules next door: Quinn’s father overworks, her mother creates gourmet meals no one enjoys, Quinn is the local pariah – and no one talks about what happened. Desperately lonely Quinn leaves a twelfth-birthday package on Cora’s doorstep; inside, she’s devised convincing plans for time travel to save Mabel … and Parker, too.
Jasmine Warga’s chilling portrayal teems with relevant details of modern tween life: safety drills, racism, immigration, and family dysfunction are handled as quotidian, kid-aware topics. Two memorable readers elevate Warga’s dual narrative: relative newbie Reena Dutt as Cora balances helpless anger and utter longing; veteran Jennifer Jill Araya as Quinn is achingly hopeful beyond her everlasting sorrow. Warga and her dynamic duo engender a trifecta success indeed.
Readers: Middle Grade