Monday, June 15, 2015

THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING by Krista Van Dolzer for MMGM



The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer (Dial, May 5, 2015, for ages 10 and up) 

Source: I won this book from Literary Rambles and Krista herself.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Twelve-year-old Ella Mae Higbee is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables and wants to be just like Sergeant Friday, her favorite character on Dragnet. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about a scientist who can bring her cousin back to life from blood on his dog tags, Ella Mae is skeptical—until he steps out of a bio-pod right before her eyes.

But the boy is not her cousin—he’s Japanese. And in California in the wake of World War II, the Japanese are still feared and despised. When her aunt refuses to take responsibility, Ella Mae and her Mama take him home instead. Determined to do what’s right by her new friend, Ella Mae teaches Takuma English and defends him from the reverend’s talk of H-E-double-toothpicks. But when his memories start to resurface, Ella Mae learns some shocking truths about her own family and more importantly, what it means to love.

Why I recommend it: Ella Mae's voice is spot-on. I was completely drawn in by page 2 and felt like Ella Mae and I were old friends. What also impressed me was the deft and graceful way the author handled some tough issues about life and death, balanced with just the right amount of humor. And finally, I've read a great many MG novels and very few of them give me chills anymore (the good kind of chills that tell me I'm reading something truly special). This one did. Especially when I reached the passage Krista talks about below. Historical fiction with a touch of the fantastical, this is a book I will read again.  

Favorite lines: The Japanese man, on the other hand, watched me through the glass. Neither of us said a word, but we still had a conversation.

Bonus: This book would be a great discussion-starter in classrooms.   

Krista's websitehttp://www.kristavandolzer.com/
Follow Krista on Twitter: @KristaVanDolzer


I asked Krista if she could explain the origin of the title for my readers, and she graciously agreed. Take it away, Krista!




I'm terrible at titles, so when the publisher said they wanted something a little more accessible to MG readers--the title at that time was THE REGENERATED MAN--I was more than happy to oblige. Except I still had no idea what the new title should be. Editor Shauna and I came up with several dozen titles over the course of several weeks, but nothing felt quite right. Luckily, she was doing one last read-through and stumbled across a passage that included the expression "the sound of life and death and everything" (which we ended up shortening to "the sound of life and everything"). Right away, she knew that line had to be the title, and though it took some convincing, I eventually saw the light. (Like I already said, I'm terrible at titles, so I don't always know a good one when I see one.) I'll let you guys read the book to find that passage for yourselves!


Thank you, Krista! It's a great title.  


Have you read The Sound of Life and Everything? What did you think?

MMGM is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for more posts.


16 comments:

  1. So glad you liked it. I hope my library gets it in. And awesome learning how the title came to be. So excited for Krista!

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    1. You should request it if your library doesn't have it yet! And thanks again, Natalie, for the giveaway.

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  2. I think the Japanese during World War II is something kids don't learn about enough. I'm glad there's a book dealing with some important issues. Thanks for the review, Joanne!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Theresa! And you're right. It's a great subject.

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  3. I've heard so much good feedback on this one and just requested a copy at my library. Thanks for reminding me about THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING! :-)

    ~Cindy

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  4. I have had this on my radar for awhile. I love hearing about the unusual title. I, too, have trouble with titles, and I found this one really interesting. Thanks for telling me about this.

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    1. I have trouble with titles too, Rosi. I just met Krista's editor at the NJ SCBWI conference yesterday and she said titles nearly always change.

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  5. Thanks again for having me, Joanne! I'm so glad you liked the book. (And thanks for requesting it at your library, Cindy! I'm a library girl, too:) )

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    1. Thanks for everything, Krista, but especially for writing this wonderful book.

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  6. This book sounds so interesting! The title does catch attention and make me curious. Thanks for explaining how if came to be.

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    1. Isn't that an unusual title, Andrea? I love it.

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  7. I just heard about this book for the first time today and I am excited to see it again here. It sounds like an amazing read. I look forward to checking it out. It sounds so unique. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. Please do check it out, Jess. It's a fascinating read.

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  8. Yay! I'm so glad you connected with this one! Thanks for featuring it.

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    1. I adored this, Myrna. Thanks for stopping by.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.