A Thunderous Whisper (by Christina Diaz Gonzalez) is a wonderful coming of age and thought provoking story that captures the reader’s attention from page one with its quiet protagonist Ani whose uneventful life is a time bomb waiting to explode.
“Insignificant whispers in a loud world” describes both Ani and the town she lives in. She’s the daughter of a poor sardine seller who lives in Guernica, a tiny anti-Franco Spanish town caught in Spain’s violent civil war.
Ani’s hopeless world starts to change the moment she meets the half Basque-half Jewish German Mathias, a recent immigrant to Guernica and an outsider like herself. He’s her first and only friend. He also knows more of the world than she does having escaped Nazi Germany with his parents.
He wants to join the resistance and make a difference. Soon he finds a way. He also persuades Ani to join him. They both carry important messages to the underground resistance, something that shows Ani that maybe she’s not so insignificant after all.
Neither of them can anticipate Franco’s alliance with Nazi Germany or the horror of the Nazi bombs that destroy the entire town of Guernica in a few hours. Left with nothing, Ani and Mathias’ lives are changed forever.
Fighting anger and grief, their friendship grows even stronger as they both decide to continue to work for the resistance, each in their own significant way.