Review: A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer

by Bookwatch, guest reviewer

Title: A Girl Named Disaster
Author: Nancy Farmer
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 320 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: This is a story about an African girl whose mother was killed by a leopard, whose father had gone away, and who soon will be married to a cruel man who already has three wives. She is only 11 years old, but she posses an intelligence, curiosity, and intuition far beyond her years. She is protected by her grandmother who encourages her to escape from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, a journey alone on a river in a stolen boat that should take her only 2 days. She instead gets turned around and it takes her many months to reach her destination. Along the way she has to overcome incredible dangers and learn to survive alone.

Why I Started this book:

As you know I am a big fan of Newberry Honor books. I would like to recommend another Newberry Honor book for your Young Adult Fiction list.  It is called A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer. It was published in 1996 by Puffin Books.


  • All along her journey she learns and communicates with the mystical spirits who guide and encourage her. I felt like these were symbols of her own courage, confidence, and intuition.
  • As she journeys, she finds her value, home, and freedom.
  • This book attributes her survival and triumph to spirit forces. I felt that her suvival was the result of her own intuition and the love of her grandmother, who, even though she wasn’t with her, had given her a sense of who she was as a person, who her mother was, and why she was valued and should value herself.
  • Her own intelligence, imagination, and curiousity were sources of courage and strength, always with her, always taking her to the next step she should take.

Last Minute Thoughts: I give A Girl Named Disaster your highest ranking.

Buy: A Girl Named Disaster

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests

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  1. Oooh, I want to read this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. (Really, there are so many good books out there that don’t get the press they deserve)

    Good review.

  2. BookWatch

    You’re welcome. I agree good books don’t get enough press and I just love reading Newberry Honor books. I hope you love A Girl Named Disaster as much as I did.

  3. Ashley

    To you what did you like that most about this book ?
    and also how the story will end ?

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