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The Shape of Thunder

by Jasmine Warga

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RGG: Perfect! A modern Bridge to Terabithia (Muslim, Lebanese American, school shooting). Reading Interest: 10-12.
  rgruberexcel | Jul 21, 2021 |
RGG: Perfect! A modern Bridge to Terabithia (Muslim, Lebanese American, school shooting). Reading Interest: 10-12.
  rgruberexcel | Jun 27, 2021 |
Cora Hamed's older sister Mabel was killed in a school shooting; Quinn McCauley's older brother was the shooter. Cora and Quinn are neighbors and used to be best friends, but not anymore; they haven't spoken in almost a year. As a new school year begin and the anniversary of the shooting approaches - November 11 - Quinn leaves a box for Cora for her birthday. Inside is the research Quinn has begun into time travel. Is it possible for the two girls to go back in time and fix things? They are going to find out.

Cora is Lebanese-American and "technically Muslim" but not especially religious; she lives with her scientist dad and her maternal grandmother. Quinn is white, with red hair, and lives with her parents, who fight a lot since Parker's death. Chapters are narrated in first person, alternating from Cora's and Quinn's perspectives; Quinn's chapters start with letters to her brother.

Each girl deals with her grief and guilt differently. Cora misses her sister, regrets that they argued on Mabel's last day, and goes to therapy weekly; Quinn feels that she is responsible for Parker's actions because she knew that he knew how to get into their dad's gun safe.

Back matter includes author's note, acknowledgments.

See also: The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu, The Year We Fell From Space by A.S. King


School used to be a place that was safe. A place where I learned things. But last year, I learned the worst thing: no place is really safe. (Cora, 5)

It's like the answer he had wasn't the one you were looking for. (Quinn to Parker, 37)

There should be a word for when you miss a person in the future. Not just missing memories of them, but missing memories you never got to have with them. (Cora, 43)

...I just like knowing things. The more things you know, the less likely you are to be taken by surprise. (Cora, 49)

"The love is even bigger than the missing."
...but sometimes the missing feels so big in my heart that I forget what the love even felt like. (Cora, 86)

It's not fair that other people get to decide how much of something I am. (Cora, 119)

"The thing I know about magic is that you have to look for it." (Quinn to Cora, 123)

"I think the answer [to time travel] lies in figuring out the shape of time. And the shape of time is probably like the shape of thunder. We think it's impossible to map, but that's because we haven't pushed our brains to think in that way." (Cora's dad remembering her mom's words, 213)

It's the worst thing when your memories turn into memories themselves. Becoming unreliable duplicates of the real thing. (Cora, 240)

"It just doesn't seem right that there's nothing we can do." (Cora to her dad, 250)

[Scientific theories] are imperfect and incomplete, but that doesn't stop them from being useful or worthwhile....Your feelings, and your feelings about your feelings, can evolve with you. And it's okay for them to do that. It actually could be said that it is scientific for them to do that." (Cora's dad, 252-253) ( )
  JennyArch | Jun 20, 2021 |
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