An extraordinary new novel from Jasmine Warga, Newbery Honor–winning author of Other Words for Home, about loss and healing—and how friendship can be magical.
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.
The Shape of Thunder is a deeply moving story, told with exceptional grace, about friendship and loss—and how believing in impossible things can help us heal.
The longtime friendship of two 12-year-olds—Cora Hamed, who is of Lebanese descent, and Quinn McCauley, who is white—is shattered when Quinn's older brother, having become immersed in white supremacy and misogyny, carries out a school shooting that results in his death and that of Cora's older sister. Though the friends have been close since age two, Cora's grief, explored in therapy, is layered with anger at Quinn over the events. Quinn, meanwhile, is knotted with guilt over her perceived failure to stop her sibling, conveyed through letters she writes to him. When Quinn, an artist who sometimes stutters, starts researching the possibilities of time travel for changing past occurrences, she clutches onto it as a way to "fix everything" and persuades science-minded Cora to join her. Short chapters alternate the girls' voices, tracing each one's struggles to accept her loss alongside the slow, one-step-forward, two-steps-back rebuilding of their bond. The story builds steadily toward a moving conclusion; Warga's (Other Words for Home) lyrical language and credible rendering of both middle school life and of the tensions of two families coping differently with personal devastation make for a perceptive, sensitively told novel about the effects of gun violence. Ages 8–12.