The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published: July 11th, by Philomel
Note: This review was first posted on Candace's Book BlogOne 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.
I was excited to read this one but was slightly concerned as it's been compared to Going Bovine, which didn't work for me (though I read it years ago, and my taste has changed), I shouldn't have been concerned, I ended up loving this book!
Sophie is adorable and I want her for my best friend (though she needs to be older, or I need to be younger cause otherwise it might be weird...). She's very, very sweet and has a quirky and unique personality. She doesn't shy from her own personal style and taste and doesn't care what others think. At least for the most part... She is an amazing friend, even when she's lost in her own little world at times. An idea of her taste- she sews quirky pockets onto her thrift store clothing and dresses with a theme and she listens to 80's music on cassette's only.
Finny is my next favorite character. He becomes Sophie's best friend in the book and I absolutely loved him! He came at just the right time and was there for her no matter what. While others may have run screaming, he stuck by her side to help her figure out what causes the 'episodes' (more on that in a minute). On top of that, he has an adorable style and was just so darn perfect for a best friend!
This book is unusual. I would say some words to describe it are quirky, whimsical and adorable. Sophie has these episodes where she hallucinates strange things from Walt, her shaman Panda, to concerts she's actively part of. But her father had this happen as well and she's determined to find out more about him and more about these episodes. And it turns out there is more to them and the journey is a fascinating one.
There's a lot of scientific stuff, but you don't really have to get it. A lot of it is described in simple terms, I mean Sophie is just a 14 year old girl, and everything is understood by her. And somehow, it all just works and makes sense. And while I can see how this book might be too weird for some, I loved it!
There's a touch of romance, but the friendship is definitely more prominent as is the whole father/daughter relationship, even though the father is really only present in Sophie's memories (which we do see). While I wouldn't mind more romance, I felt like it was presented just perfect for this book. It wouldn't have worked being more center stage and I felt like the friendship of Sophie and Finny worked best for this story.
This was a fast read, I devoured it in one day and I recommend it to fans of contemporary YA who enjoy a touch of absurdity in their stories, but maybe have an open mind to some creative physics exploration/theories. It's a clean read, with no bad language, no drugs or alcohol, and no sex, or even talk of it.
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library, all opinions expressed are my own.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.