It’s been a long time….

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything, but I’m back now, for a while anyway.

I just returned from the ALAN Workshop with a whole load of new books and books to be. The first one I finished is a book to be by Pam Munoz Ryan and it was glorious!

echoEcho is a haunting tale that weaves together the lives of four young people who are all lost in some way. It all starts with Otto. He becomes lost in the woods near his home. In a panic, he falls and bumps his head. When he awakens, there are three young women sitting around him. Their names are the same as the characters in a book he’d been reading, which is impossible, but there they sit. They ask him to read the story to them, but when he gets to a certain point, the book is blank…there’s no ending! Realizing that their story is not yet finished, they ask him for help. They can only be rescued if their spirits are taken from the forest in a woodwind instrument by a messenger. When he offers his help, they are overjoyed, but the only instrument he has is a harmonica. In turn, each girl plays a tune, imbuing the mouth harp with her spirit. They instruct him to take the instrument out of the woods, but he must give it away to someone when the time is right.

“How will I know when, or to whom…?” Otto asks.

“You will know.” The girls whispered.

So begins the journey of the harmonica. First, the instrument finds its way to Fredrich, a boy who hears symphonies in his head. Next is Mike, an orphan living in an orphanage in Philadelphia with his little brother, who finds it in a music store. Last is Ivy, the daughter of Mexican immigrants living in California who got the little instrument on the day her life changed forever. One is lost in his head, another is lost without a home, the last is lost in prejudice. Years pass and they find themselves in the same place on one magical night. As distant bells toll, the three sisters from Otto’s story are set free and all of those who were lost have found a place to belong.

Pam Munoz Ryan has woven an astounding tale that spans 18 years, 3 lives, and 2 countries. Each story is a novelette, complete with compelling characters, interesting plot twists and music, always music. Ryan motivates the reader to keep reading by ending each story at a crucial moment, a cliff hanger. At last, she expertly weaves their lives together, yet allows the reader to imagine how they might meet one another and what might happen next. Ryan is a master storyteller who dips her toe into the waters of fantasy with great success!

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