Monday, August 5, 2013

Becky's View: The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
♦publisher: Philomel
♦release date: July 11th, 2013
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review

Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad.

Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love.

Review: The Theory of Everything is one of those special stories.  Main character, Sophie Sophia, and her surprising mind instantly caught my heart and sent my brain reeling!

One of the most unique things about this reading experience is that you literally don’t know in any concrete manner if Sophie is really having “episodes” or if she really is falling into some parallel universe.  This story could be Sophie's determined psychological quest or it could be a light and quirky sci-fi.  But more than anything, it’s a touching story about Sophie’s journey to find answers about her father and the very bizarre things that are happening to them both. Her life is so disrupted by these crazy hallucinations, hallucinations that her father experienced, too.  Her mom loves Sophie and it shows, but she also does her best to ignore the fact that her daughter may be following in her father's footsteps and that scares her.

So to prove she doesn't belong in a mental ward, Sophie and her fabulous friend, Finn set off an a New York adventure---both so physics-obsessed Finn can get a taste of city life and so Sophie can, with the strong support of her friend and few wise words from her Shaman Panda (yes!), find out the mystery behind her Dad's reasons for disappearing and hopefully get to the bottom of the hallucinations so she can gain some normalcy.  And on her travels,  she definitely finds both more and less than she bargained for.  I often felt Sophie acted beyond her age, but with everything she'd had to deal with in her life, it made sense.   She was funny, clever, and original.  I loved the importance placed on music throughout the story; it was an unbreakable connection between Sophie and her dad.  Each chapter starts with lyrics from an 80's song---that alone gained it a special place in my heart!

What I love about the ending is that it doesn’t tie up in a happily-ever-after, tidy little package.  At 14, Sophie has a ways to go---she grows a ton in this book, learns a great many things about herself and her dad, but she acknowledges that she’s not done yet.  I loved that.

The Theory of Everything is a story chock full of musical nostalgia (for me, at least LOL), wildly enchanting characters, science that is not an exact science,  a healthy dose of imagination, and a lesson in the importance of love of all kinds. 
Find Kari Luna online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase The Theory of Everything:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. This story sounds so strange but fun! Glad to hear that the ending isn't HEA. It's kind of nice to read a novel where things don't end perfectly, where there's still room to grow.

    Great review! Sounds like a book I need to check out soon :)

  2. This book looks and sounds awesome :) Thanks for the great post!

  3. After reading your wonderful review I wish I could love this book! I do however have a problem with 14 year old protagonists as they often sound very very young which makes it hard for me to connect to them. However, you mentioned that she acted often a little older which might work for me in the end!Then, I truly love a nicely packed ending so again something that might throw me off. Truly!!! I am super torn now!!:)) Anyhow, I'm super curious now to find out what is really going on.

  4. This sounds way fun!

    Thanks for the great review.

  5. I love the cover! Almost as much as I love panda's! ^_^