Book - 2015
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Apr 22, 2021

When we tipped this book off the shelf at the library, it landed with a "thunk!" in the book bag. It's a hefty read -- 587 pages!

But just like with Tristan Strong, our family really loves reeeaaaally long books, so it was an instant hit. It doesn't hurt that my two kiddos study violin, as well, and could fill in some of the taken-for-granted "musical" elements of the book from their performance experiences.

Echo is the story of how a harmonica brings together the right people at the right time to save their lives, although you don't really know that when you start reading. In the process, it frees three princesses bound by a witch's curse. It is intricately plotted and a joy to read.

Jun 29, 2020

I absolutely LOVE this book!!! It has such a good plot and a beautiful conclusion. I must say that I am partly biased in this review as I REALLY REALLY LOVE books that have multiple stories going on at the same time. It truly is a work of art. Tells 4 stories at once. The story of Friedrich who is a boy living in Germany ruled under Hilter. Mike who is an orphan in Pennyslyvania. And Ivy a Mexican American living segregated in California. Each kid has a different story and all contribute in the tale of 3 sisters and a harmonica... 11+

JCLZainabF Apr 03, 2020

Echo was a well-crafted story with adventure, mystery and a powerful sense of hope. The book brilliantly ties in three different story lines together through a harmonica. The harmonica also happens to be a key to release three princesses from a curse, which was unique.

Nov 05, 2019

A uniquely crafted story. I loved reading this book, and will randomly pick up the book to flip to my favorite parts!

JCLCharlesH Oct 17, 2019

This wonderful novel was a joy to read. A fast paced character driven plot revolving around music, this is great for young and old readers alike. I loved this book, and it was my favorite discovery of the 2019 Librarian's Read challenge.

Aug 13, 2019

Really enjoyable middle grade fiction with a great message subtly woven into the story line.

Dec 04, 2018

One the richest reads I've come across. "Echo" is absolutely enchanting with a fairytailish essence that melds with the harsh realities of war, loss, racism and then the brilliance of hope, action and love woven throughout with music. Thoroughly enjoyed every character and aspect of this masterpiece. My first encounter with this author has proven to be an extraordinary experience.

Nov 18, 2018

Great book! Great literature and interwined destiny. Destiny ties everything together. You don't know who destiny ties you with.

Jan 22, 2018

A book so touching, the characters and story will linger long after the last page. In today's tumult, this is a book that reminds us that without music, there would be little beauty. An endearing read!

Aug 02, 2017

Echo was a long book but was worth every page! Every perspective was carefully crafted and different to each extent. The background story was well thought out too, and this lead to a continuous unique setting for all three POV’s. Some stories were set in World War 2 whereas each one was different and the characters faced different issues and complications in their lives. A great novel for anyone who is into a mysterious and more complex novel, and also for all music lovers! The harmonica is one of the most important factors of this book and the musical aspect was presented nicely. The characters are sure to stay with you forever! Rating 4/5
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

MissLauraStorytime Nov 18, 2016

My favorite children's novel of 2015 seamlessly interweaves a fairy tale into historical fiction, telling the story of three children and their families, in different parts of the world, at different times, whose lives are all changed for the better by a harmonica. Recommended for children, teens, and adults who enjoy complicated stories and sagas.

CMLReads_Kristin Aug 31, 2016

A lovely story about the power of music to get people through difficult times. Set against the back drop of WWII, a harmonica makes its way from Germany to the United State and through the hands of three very different children. Excellent on audio because of the aye ion the producers paid to replicating the harmonica music described in the text.

Jun 11, 2016

I really liked this book! I loved how the story built up and the end of each part left me hanging until the end

PimaLib_MaryG Apr 18, 2016

A magical harmonica takes us from the land of fairy tales to a series of interconnected tales in the very real world of the the depression and World War II. Each tale stops at a critical moment that leaves the reader wanting more and they all fit nicely together at the end. this book hooked me and kept my interest.

CATLIN Apr 18, 2016

Amazing story! So magical... I was sorry when it ended. 6th grade up.

JCLChrisK Mar 24, 2016

A book of stories connected by a thread of magic. A thread that takes the form of a magical harmonica. A harmonica that embodies the magic of music. A magic that isn't really magical, because it's created by the characters in the form of their music, perseverance, compassion, and adherence to ideals.

The book is framed by two brief stories, one a fairy tale and one about a young German boy who wanders into the fairy tale. The first of the longer stories follows young Friedrich in 1933, part of a German family not willing to join the Nazi party when other options are becoming scarce. The second is set in rural Pennsylvania in 1935, and follows brothers Mike and Frankie as they try desperately to escape the orphanage where they've landed. The third follows Ivy and her Latino family as they try to farm their way out of poverty in Southern California in 1942, and the Japanese family that might offer a route.

Each story is suspenseful and engaging. Each character faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles imposed by larger forces. Each tale ends on a dark cliffhanger--though there is a short fourth part which I won't describe that provides connection and resolution. And each protagonist is a gifted musician hoping music might provide a way out of the darkness, with a theme song for each of their sections.

I'm particularly glad that I listened to the audio version of this book, because a large cast of musicians provided the music the characters played throughout the book. It is an excellent production.

I wasn't quite enchanted enough to say that this book is magical, but it comes awfully close. Bravo! 4.5 stars.

Mar 24, 2016

Such a great book. I can't say that enough. I cried at the end

Jan 06, 2016

this is a AMAZING book! it is a story of 3 people, and they all have different problems in their life. Read this book!

Nov 30, 2015

I totally LOVED listening to the pre-downloaded audiobook!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Aug 27, 2015

Ryan's books always present situations worth discussion. This one involves 3 children around the world who are united by their love of music and their courage in facing the prejudices of others.

The lives of three children, from Germany to the U.S., are woven together in this book surprises, and the magic of one special harmonica.

Apr 29, 2015

Ryan has written a story of four people, who don’t know each other but have had the same harmonica in their possession. Frustrating as you read it, because each person’s story just stops and the reader is left wondering what the heck just happened…that is until you get to the end and you cry because it came together so beautifully. Each “owner” of the harmonica has had to face huge challenges from the Nazis in Germany, to the fear of separations from a brother in the process of adoption during the Great Depression, to living in the unequal world of education for Hispanics in California during World War II. Ryan has written a book in which fantasy and historical fiction meld perfectly.

Apr 15, 2015

Looks good. Long, but level looks about right.

Mar 24, 2015

it was a nice book, but pretty far fetched. I liked it but it takes a long time for the story lines of 3 different characters to tie together. its a nice book!

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