The Sound of Life and Everything

Krista Van Dolzer. Putnam, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-16775-1
In a moving examination of racism in post-WWII California, a scientist promising to resurrect an American solider instead conjures a Japanese clone. Shunned by his creator and the desperate woman who thought she was getting back her son, Takuma Sato is taken in by 12-year-old Ella Mae Higbee and her mother, who recognize the man’s innocence. As Takuma’s self-proclaimed best friend, Ella Mae is a scrapper in the tradition of Harper Lee’s Scout, a tomboy unafraid of using her fists on a bully with an equally fierce compassion that looks beyond a man’s skin. Debut author Van Dolzer’s attentions are less on the story’s science fiction aspect than on the racial tensions at play, dividing family and pitting God against science, with the devout Mrs. Higbee standing up against religious leaders who turn Takuma away for his unnatural genesis. In revealing how Takuma’s DNA got mixed up with that of Ella Mae’s cousin, Van Dolzer creates a thoughtful study in forgiveness and hope blossoming in a climate of ignorance and fear. Ages 10–up. Agent: Kate Schafer Testerman, KT Literary. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/09/2015
Release date: 05/05/2015
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