Monday, September 10, 2012

Dust In The Wind...

Expected Publication: October 9th, 2012
A Thunderous Whisper
By: Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 9780375869297

Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he's been off fighting in Spain's Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he's as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias's father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She's actually making a difference in the world. 

And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.


   Ani lives in the small town of Guernica, with her Mother and Father.  She goes out every day to sell sardines with her Mother, who makes a living at it.  Ani is teased and ridiculed by her classmates, has no friends and desperately misses her Father who is fighting in the Spanish Civil War that is raging around her.  Also going on at this time is WWII, so Ani and her neighbors also gave to worry about being bombed by the Nazis.  When Mathias moves to town with his parents who take over management of the movie theater, Ani makes her first friend.  She also becomes involved in something far more dangerous than she ever imagined when the two kids stumble across a spy ring involving Matt's parents.  They become involved as messengers and when they have the chance to make a difference for real Ani and Matt have to fight to be heard.  But after Guernica is bombed and their families are shattered, Ani and Matt must decide what is more important - fighting back or saving others from the ravages of war.  This was different from my usual supernatural fare.  I know almost next to nothing about Spanish history, the Basque subsect of the population and the Civil War that was raging in the backdrop of WWII.  But I really    felt connected to Ani and Mathias despite the cultural differences.  I loved seeing Ani's joy at watching her first movie (Top Hat, with Fred and Ginger of course) and the happiness that came with her and Matt's growing friendship.  The devastation after the bombing of Guernica just about broke my heart in half and I loved the fact that the author was realistic about the survival of family versus the death of them.  The ending was beautiful and it truly made me glad that this book will be published.  If I can find more books like this, historical fiction might become a steadier part of my diet.  The only thing I wasn't too enamored with was how unreasonable Matt became later in the novel.  But then again, he was a fourteen year old boy.  If you want to read a wonderful book about coming of age during the two separate wars that intersect in a horrific way, and in spite of them, this is the book for you.  It definitely made me feel like I was gaining something important.

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is October 9th, 2012.*

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