Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Four stories spanning decades with one magical harmonica in common.  Echo begins with a fairy tale of three sisters banished by a witch.  Their only hope of returning home rests with a harmonica that holds their essence.  The first person to find the harmonica is Friedrich, a boy who hopes to be a conductor one day but who first must try to save his father and uncle in Nazi Germany.  Two years later the harmonica has found its way to Philadelphia and into the hands of Mike, an orphan trying to take care of his younger brother.  Finally, the harmonica is used by Ivy in California.  Ivy's family has just moved to what they hope will be a better place with a permanent home for them shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

Each individual story it interesting and the characters are easy to identify with exactly as you would expect from Ryan.  Her writing, as always, is wonderful.  But while I liked the book and read it fairly quickly, I seriously question the appeal it's going to have with teens.  And how can I sell it?  "Here is a 585 page book about a magical harmonica."?  The right readers will like it but it will be hard to find those readers.