The Shape of Thunder

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The Shape of Thunder
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
May 11, 2021
ISBN
9780062956675
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Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a year.

Despite living next door to each other, they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her beloved sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did.

On the day of Cora’s twelfth birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note. She has decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever—and stop him.

In spite of herself, Cora wants to believe. And so the two former friends begin working together to open a wormhole in the fabric of the universe. But as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of time travel to save their siblings, they learn that the magic of their friendship may actually be the key to saving themselves.

Editor review

1 review
Crucially important story of healing, friendship, and family
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Quinn and Cora used to be best friends. When Quinn’s brother killed Cora’s sister in a school shooting, they stopped speaking. Now months later, Quinn leaves Cora a birthday gift on her doorstep: articles about time travel and wormholes. Quinn is convinced that, with Cora’s help, they can open a wormhole, travel back in time, and fix what Quinn’s brother did. As they begin to work on their experiment together, they find a whirlwind of emotion coming up. If they can’t find a way to go back in time, maybe there is a way their friendship could forge a path forward.

THE SHAPE OF THUNDER is a crucially important, beautifully written middle grade novel that tackles a heavy topic. This story largely focuses on the months-later aftermath of the shooting, intimately examining the two families and how they are coping (or not coping). Quinn is dealing with guilt, worry over the arguments between her parents, and grief over losing her friendship with Cora. Cora feels shame that she misses Quinn and worries she’s betraying her sister by doing so, and she misses her sister dearly. Much like the middle grade works of Jason Reynolds, Jasmine Warga knows how to write *to* kids rather than *at* them and approaches a tough, emotional topic with care and respect.

In the middle of the heavy themes, I loved the small character-building moments with Quinn and Cora. I loved Cora’s passion for science and expert use of scientific facts. Quinn has a beautiful imagination and can appreciate the magic around her, like in an old tree.

With heartfelt characters, a touching storyline, and a nuanced take on a tough issue, THE SHAPE OF THUNDER is a must have for any middle grade shelf.
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