Wonderful Feels Like This

Sara Lövestam, trans. from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg. Flatiron, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-09523-7
Empathy, identity, and the transformative power of music bind this tale of an atypical friendship between a teenage outcast and a jazz musician. Swedish teen Steffi Herrera doesn’t fit in at her school, where the other girls malign her dark hair and eyes, comparing her Cuban skin to feces and hurling other racist insults at her. When Steffi hears her favorite jazz artist playing from the window of a retirement home, she knows she has found a kindred spirit. During Steffi’s regular visits, 89-year-old Alvar recounts his own teenage struggles in Stockholm during WWII, his love for a woman named Anita, and his days as a jazz musician. Steffi and Alvar’s stories intersect in surprising ways as they find solace in each other and their musical prowess while coping with harsh realities. There’s a an easy, languid flow to Lövestam’s omniscient third-person storytelling as different characters take the spotlight, but the author doesn’t soft-pedal mortality, Alzheimer’s, or Steffi’s bullies—Steffi’s self-control is all the more courageous in the face of their genuine cruelty. Ages 12–up. Agent: Marina Penalva, Pontas Literary & Film Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2017
Release date: 03/07/2017
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-1-250-09519-0
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-250-09524-4
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