Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Huge thank you to Scholastic Canada for this ARC!
This is my first Pam Munoz Ryan novel. I had been meaning to get to some of her more popular books, but when this was handed to me at OLA a few weeks ago by a Scholastic Representative, I knew the time had come.
Seriously, the writing in this book is gorgeous. It’s lyrical, hitting note after note, and it simply dances about as you read on. This novel hosts three different stores, each centring around family and a harmonica. For such a chunker of a novel, I was surprised how fast I read it. But I found myself very invested in each one of the stories. My favourite was easily Friedrich, if only because he loses his sister to the Hitler Youth Movement, and no matter how much he tried to bring her around, he never entirely succeeded. He loses so much in his life, and so quickly, yet he tries to preserver and do ultimately what he thinks his right.
Reading through Friedrich, Mike and Ivy’s stories, you get this sense of passion and zest for life. Regardless of their hardships, they are children who are attempting to make sense of the world around them in the early 1940s. They are all at curious ages, coping with worldly changes that will affect their lives in the long run. The characters in this book were beautiful, and they accompanied by very fantastic and thoughtful adult characters who didn’t treat them less than simply because they were children.
The only thing I wasn’t huge on was the ending. It was a bit of a non-ending in some ways. You get this sense of everything coming together, the characters coming together and then it just stops. I’m not really big on those, but I don’t think it should deter someone from enjoying this novel. The writing and characters alone make this novel quite the pleasure to read.
Reading Echo gave me a lot of different feelings, and transported me to a time that felt familiar. It certainly has it’s moments where it can make a reader uncomfortable, but it’s shown with the right reasons in mind. This story is beautiful, poetic, and it solidifies why people adore Pam Munoz Ryan’s works. Echo really was a joy to read.