Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lövestam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Steffi hates going to school. She lives in a small town with just a handful of people in her class, who all pick on her and make fun of her, spread lies, and are just downright mean to Steffi. She is just waiting until the end of the year so she can graduate and go to University for music. As long as she can survive until then, Steffi knows that the harassment she is getting at school won't matter anymore, because she will be at a school that she loves and all of the other kids will love the same thing as her: music.
When Steffi was walking home from school one day, her music's batteries died and she was left with silence to listen to. But then she heard jazz music coming from the distance. Since jazz music is her all time favorite genre, she went to investigate, and found the person playing the music: Alvar.
Alvar is at the nursing home and after he hollered at her from his window, Steffi made an instant best friend. Turns out, Alvar was a famous jazz guitarist/bassist player during the WWII. He traveled to Stockholm by train and was on a mission to be the best jazz player around town. And he just so happened did become one of the best players in the jazz industry.
Steffi is amazed by Alvar's life and how he overcame many issues to get his dream come true in the end. The more Steffi hears Alvar's life story, the more confident she becomes about her own life. Sure, things suck right now, but in a year? Who knows what Steffi can achieve.
As Steffi is getting ready to perform at a music university, she is worried about the present and the future, depending on what the outcome of her audition is. But one thing is for certain: she was a lucky girl to have found Alvar at the right time in her life.
I found out about this book because it was in the Kirkus top 10 books for young adult bookclub books for adult readers. Since I am in charge of such a bookclub at my library, I thought I'd give it a whirl beforehand and see if I like it or not. I'm not much of a history, different country, or a music fan, so this book was very out there for me, but I was up for giving it a try.
And overall, I did enjoy the book. There were a few times when I thought the book was pretty slow going and that nothing was really getting done in the book, but this isn't an adventure book and I was liking the overall message the author was giving the reader: never give up hope.
I mean, Alvar was a brave man to go live with a distant relative and try to achieve his dream. That is so scary to me - I need to have a plan with detailed information for me to feel comfortable to do something. But Alvar was loving the life he was creating for himself and that is admirable. Especially for Steffi since she was an artist being crammed into a nonmusical box.
I felt so much for Steffi. She is one tough cookie and doesn't let the main bully, Karro, bring down her spirits. And when Steffi got lost in her music and other students made on comment on how great she was on the guitar in front of Karro? That was amazing.
As much negativity Steffi got from her classmates and her older sister, I admire her for not stooping to their level and blackmailing them with deep dark secrets. Seriously, if I was Steffi I would be holding leverage over everyone negative in my life to make them feel just a smidgen of what they made her feel, but Steffi is a better person than I am. She didn't throw secrets into the world and watch chaos happen. She kept the secrets deep inside of her and didn't let that affect how she treated these terrible people.
I love the relationship and friendship between Alvar and Steffi. Seriously, how many 16 year old girls go hangout at a nursing home and spend all of their free time with an old man? Not that many, I can tell you that.
They have a special connection between the two of them and that is because of the music they both love. Having just one thing in common will bring two of the most opposite people together, and that is what happened to these two characters.
I think this book can touch a lot of readers even if they have no common interests with the main themes of this book, because in the end it's about friendship. And I think everyone can relate to that!
Really enjoyed this book! I'll have to debate if I will use it for bookclub, but I'm glad I read it overall!
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