We Are All That’s Left

Carrie Arcos. Philomel, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-399-17554-1
Arcos (Out of Reach) depicts the horrors of the 1990s Bosnian conflict in this powerful novel that juxtaposes images of the war against a fictionalized terrorist attack in Rhode Island. The story begins in the present day with teenage Zara bemoaning the fact that she feels distant from her mother, Nadja. Zara knows that Nadja was a victim of the Bosnian war, but many questions remain unanswered. What are the nightmares that make Nadja scream out in the night? Why does she never speak of her wartime experiences? Then Zara experiences a trauma firsthand. While at the farmers’ market with her mother and brother, a bomb goes off, leaving both children injured and their mother in a coma. Now, facing the possibility that Nadja may never awaken, Zara feels a pressing need to understand her family history. Arcos alternates Zara’s battle with PTSD and her quest to find clues to her mother’s past with the story of young Nadja’s struggles to survive after her entire family is killed by Serbs. The result is a multilayered view of tragedy and its repercussions. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenburg Roston Literary Agency. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/12/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
Genre: Children's
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