Thunder over Kandahar provides a gripping, empathetic look at one of the most dangerous and misogynistic societies in existence today.
The girls' alternating viewpoints capture the heartbreaking trauma and concerned young people will be caught up in the issues.
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Informative and inspiring... well-constructed and believable... This novel should become essential classroom reading for students in Grades 7 and 8.
This is a novel of courage, love, sacrifice, and, most importantly, hope for a brighter future...Sharon E. McKay has written a wonderful novel of great importance.
The novel is perhaps best understood not as a fictional slice of contemporary conflict, but as a more enduring example of extreme circumstances inspiring selflessness.
Library Media Connection
This story, enhanced with black and white photographs and filled with drama and tension, realistically portrays contemporary life in Afghanistan.
Judean A. Wise, Library Media Specialist, Woodworth Middle School, Fond du Lac, WI
Open Book Toronto
In her powerful YA novel Thunder Over Kandahar, Sharon E. McKay tells the story of two young girls, bound together by friendship and then torn apart by the perilous realities of present-day Afghanistan. Illustrated with original photography by Rafal Gerszak.
A riveting and suspenseful story... This book is an essential read for students in Grade 7 and up.
Quill and Quire
Fast-paced action and appealing characters...bring young readers face to face with the realities of modern Afghanistan, both the dark and the light.
McKay...portrays the unsettled nature of life in a war-torn country and especially the plight of the women who have virtually no decision-making powers. Highly recommended.
Actress Mozhan Marno's dramatic reading turns Sharon E McKay's novel Thunder Over Kandahar into powerful theater for the ears.
School Library Journal
What shines through this sad narrative is the love Afghans have for their country...(a) gripping tale.
What If? Canada's Creative Teen Magazine
A powerful read.... McKay is able to bring this far-away, well-researched story right into your bedroom (or wherever you like to read).
Nothing short of a dramatic page-turner, guaranteed to stop your breath and keep you reading more.
Canadian Materials - Michelle Superle
McKay has created a compelling exploration of the ways the Taliban regime's influence affects not only Afghani girls seeking to become educated, but also its far-reaching effects on whole families and communities. Without ever reading like a textbook or propaganda, Thunder over Kandahar provides insight into girls' experiences in this terrifying chasm of ideological upheaval.... Although the events in this plot-focussed tale may, at moments, seem far-fetched or over the top, when read as a composite of the situations faced often by many Afghani girls and women, it rings true, particularly as it is built upon the strength of McKay's thorough research. Thunder over Kandahar provides a gripping, empathetic look at one of the most dangerous and misogynistic societies in existence today through the believable, inspiring characters of Yasmine and her friend Tamanna. As well as providing a satisfying reading experience, the book is a valuable supplement to various Social Studies curricula.
Booklist - Hazel Rochman
Suicide bombers, land mines, and other horrors of contemporary war drive the action in this fictionalized account of two young teenagers in Afghanistan, torn from their families and then from each other as they try to flee the Taliban. Yasmine, 14, was born and raised in England by her academic Afghan parents who are attacked after returning to "help get their country back." She becomes best friends with Tamanna, who is thrilled to be allowed to go to school, even as she dreads an arranged marriage with an older man. Like sisters, the girls help keep each other safe, and together they resist wearing the burka and face hostility for going out in public without a male protector. Then their world explodes, literally. There may be just too much going on here for many readers. But the girls' alternating viewpoints capture the heartbreaking trauma and concerned young people will be caught up in the issues including the roles of foreigners and the UN, as well as the oppression of women.
Library Media Connection - Judean A. Wise
(starred review) This story, enhanced with black and white photographs and filled with drama and tension, realistically portrays contemporary life in Afghanistan. The oppression of women is one of the main issues in the book. Yasmine and Tamanna are brave young women with different opinions but with the same determination to overcome their struggles and hardships. Highly Recommended.
Sacramento Bee - Judy Green
Actress Mozhan Marno's dramatic reading turns Sharon E McKay's novel Thunder Over Kandahar into powerful theater for the ears.... Thunder's courageous characters and their cultural dilemmas will linger long after the final scene.
An excellent, suspenseful novel for young people interested in the Afghan conflict and who wish to learn about some of the issues in this conflict.
Republica - Barsha Rajeshwori Thapa
The fiction portrays the true essence of lives of Afghani women and children.
This story is so vivid you could believe that Yasmine is real. The heart-stopping action is also tragically real for many children throughout Afghanistan.
This suspenseful tale of two young women on their own in modern Afghanistan makes riveting reading. Having spent most of her 14 years in England, bookish Yasmine chafes at the restrictions forced on her when her idealistic, university-educated parents bring her to a secluded village. Though Yasmine does meet Tamanna, a friendly young neighbor, she is confined to the house and, until Taliban ruffians arrive to shut it down, a newly built school. Then both of Yasmine's parents are shot in a drive-by and evacuated to Kandahar, leaving her—and Tamanna, whose brutal uncle has tried and failed to sell her into marriage—in serious danger. They resolve on a desperate stratagem, slipping away not toward Kandahar as their pursuers would expect, but cross country to the Pakistan border. Well stocked with credible cultural detail and enhanced by black-and-white chapter-head photos, their high-tension odyssey leads to a violent climax and an aftermath marked by surprising twists. Readers will be caught up—though it's so misanthropic that many will wonder how anyone, especially women, could tolerate living in that country. (glossary, timeline) (Fiction. 11-13)