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Middle Grade Fiction 402
Crucially important story of healing, friendship, and family
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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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