The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

The Theory of EverythingThe Theory of Everything
By Kari Luna
Published July 11th 2013 by Philomel
Genre | Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism

Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad.

Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Review |★ ★ ★ ★

The pandas are coming…

Aww, aren’t they cute?

The Theory of Everything is one part 1980’s, two parts Donni Darko, three parts String Theory and four parts of adorable. A nice cool contemporary cocktail that suited my taste buds.

This is a coming-of-age story about a fourteen year old girl named Sophie Sophia. She’s a young girl stuck in the analog age, wears themed outfits, and loves 80’s music. She goes through things that a handful of teenagers her age go through: getting used to a new school, making friends, dealing with the trauma of a father that walked out on her, and receiving advice from her shaman panda. Wait, what was the last part? Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that Sophie has episodes, meaning she sees things that others don’t see. Now, this could mean that Sophie hallucinates or something else, but her episodes are so much fun to read about. It’s like if you combined the movie Donni Darko and Fantasia together you would get Sophie’s various episodes. Really trippy stuff. 😀

I feel like a lot of the books I enjoy have an amazing cast of characters and this book is no exception. Sophie is an adorable little girl finding her way in life, going through a journey of self-discovery. And then there are her two best friends.

First off, there’s Walt. Sophie’s shaman panda who plays poker, attempted to conduct a panda marching band and gives enigmatic fortune-cookie advice. I honestly wished there was more of him in the book, but he showed up when he needed to. He’s a lovable panda. The kind who is more likely to give a hug, rather than a right-hook like other zoo pandas.

Then there’s Finny….

Finny, Finny, Finny…a.k.a. Fab Physics Boy, a.k.a Sophie’s best friend, a.k.a. the guy who knows how to do friendship the right way! Awhile back, Lottie @ Book Adoration discussed the absence of friends in Young Adult Fiction. Where were the friends in YA? It can’t be all be love triangles and junk. Well, I’m happy to say that the friendship between Sophie and Finny is a true testament to what a  YA friendship should be. This is the guy that sticks with his best friend through thick and thin, through the ups and downs and brings out the comfort coffee when necessary. At first, I thought things were going to go differently. Sophie started out as the weird new girl with no friends when all of a sudden Fab Physics Boy pops out of nowhere. Now, in the YA books I’ve read the guy who sticks out like a sore thumb to the protagonist is usually a potential love interest. NOPE, not this time. And that’s not a bad thing. I adored Finny and wished I had a Finny of my own.

That’s not to say there isn’t romance in this book, because there is. A rainbow-vomit inducing teen romance to be precise. No, there’s no hot passionate make-out session you can read about, but there is a sweet romance present. It’s mainly the awkwardness and adorableness of a first love. But gosh-darn-it, it’s freaking cute! By the end of the book, I was squeeing like crazy because of the cuteness.

I love how the underlying theme is love. Not just romantic love, but also the love between daughter and mother, daughter and father and between friends. I feel like a lot of Young Adult Fiction books try to sell off physical attraction as love, but that wasn’t the case with this book. Love isn’t all happy endings. It’s also the hurt, the struggle and the ability to pick yourself up after being broken. It’s a really nice message once you think about it.

The only issue I had with the book, a really small issue, was the lingo and 80’s references used. I am not an 80’s child, nor do I have any attachment to 80’s music. So sad to say, all the 80’s band references were completely lost on me (sorry!). I had to look up who Morrissey was, what Ray Ban glasses looked like and even looked up some of the bands mentioned on YouTube. I think my lack of 80’s music knowledge really lessen my reading experience. If I did, I’d probably be fangirling even more over this book. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy The Theory of Everything because I thoroughly did. The story itself is very relatable. I honestly really wanted to see where this journey would take these kids and the trippy episodes were always a pleasure to read. 😀

Would I recommend it?

Recommend! If you’re a paranormal lover like me and want to dive into contemporary, this is a good book to start with. But before you start, I also recommend embracing your inner 80’s as well.

Monthly Reading List | August 2013

So long July, it’s been real! For the month of August, I’m doing a lot of new things. I’m starting a new school year, moving to a new location and reading unfamiliar genres that are totally new to me. Also, as you can see from the title, I’m also starting a new feature on my blog: a monthly reading list!

The feature is pretty straight forward. On the first day of very month, I post a list of potential books I want to read during that month. Depending on my mood or how busy my IRL schedule is the list is subject to change, but my personal goal is to at least read something every month and write a review for it. And to spice up the feature I’ll try to give every month a theme.

This month’s theme is *drumrolls*… Continue reading

Teaser Tuesday #1 | The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers |

“Once I saw a guy’s heart roll right off his sleeve. Mom and I were sitting in a booth at Sal’s sharing a sausage calzone when I saw it–a big red heart sitting in the outside of his arm instead of the middle of his chest where it belonged.”

 
These are the first two sentences in the prologue. I think the introduction is pretty successful in enticing you to read the rest of the book. Seriously, when can you literally say you saw someone’s heart on their sleeves?

Goodreads | TBD

What are you reading this Tuesday?

Waiting On Wednesday #1

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted bu Jill over on Breaking the Spine

What I’m waiting on…

 The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

 Expected Release Date |  July 11, 2013

 Publisher | Philomel Books

One part Libba Bray’s GOING BOVINE, two parts String Theory, and three parts love story equals a whimsical novel that will change the way you think about the world.

Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad.

Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love.

Perfect for fans of Going Bovine,The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Probability of Miracles. (Courtesy of Amazon)

Why I want it?

I first heard about this from a booktuber’s video (it was a long time ago so I forgot where the original video is) and it sounded like a very fun and quirky read. The synopsis intrigued me and the cover was so adorable that I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon. I’ve been waiting for this book for months! I don’t think I can quietly wait for another whole month.