A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The story takes the history of the 1967 Nigerian civil wars and sets it in 2172. Interested readers can research the history of when parts of the eastern region of Nigeria sought status as an independent nation, the Republic of Biafra. The book also portrays the lives of child warriors; this phenomenon exists today in Africa and other regions of the world. There are also descriptions of real-life technical concepts.
Love conquers fear.
Positive Role Models
War Girls has wonderful representations of physically, emotionally, and intellectually capable girls. Girls protect and educate one another when war has dismantled normal life. They master technologies and make their own inventions. They train their bodies for strength and endurance. They fight bravely and nurture compassionately.
Violence & Scariness
The setting is a war. There are shootings, bombings, fights with other weapons, and hand-to-hand combat. Also potentially disturbing graphic descriptions of injuries, such as the loss of limbs and eyes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief mention of a kiss.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character drinks a psychedelic-drug-like substance for energy and healing after being injured in an attack.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi (Beasts Made of Night) is a science fiction novel that begins in in civil-war-torn Nigeria in 2172. It's the story of sisters living in an encampment for orphaned child warriors who are separated after an attack in which one of them is captured. There are a lot of violent scenes: shootings, bombings, fights with other weapons, and hand-to-hand combat, as well as potentially disturbing descriptions of injuries, such as the loss of limbs and eyes. One character drinks a psychedelic-drug-like substance for energy and healing after being injured in an attack. There's a brief mention of a kiss.
Is It Any Good?
This is a suspenseful and heartbreaking story about the price of loyalty to a cause, other people, and yourself. In War Girls, three different female characters narrate the horrors of war: One of them is prepared to fight, to the death if necessary. Another uses her wiles and imagination to perceive more of the world than others can. The third is an innocent; she has faith and love but not much ability to understand. The conflicts that drive the book are rooted in whether any of them can survive without the complementary gifts of the others and whether they can find a way to reunite. In showing how they develop empathy for each other, the author creates characters who will evoke empathy in readers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.