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The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

Shaman pandas are real. No, really.

Interests/Topics: Physics, parallel universes, 80s music, New York City, fashion, Jack Kerouac, romance

Curriculum Connections: English, Physics, Music, Family Studies (Fashion)

Gender: F/M

Age: 14+

Blurb: So I was walking through King’s Cross train station in London this past summer when I turned a corner and came face to face with Platform 9¾. No joke. There it was, in all its wizardly glory, right in front of me. I was thrilled. If ever I was to enter an alternate universe (and I haven’t yet had the pleasure), I certainly hope it would be Hogwarts: moving staircases, talking pictures, magic wands, flying broomsticks—what fun! My universe travel would have to be after Voldemort’s defeat of course; he has a way of ruining a perfectly splendid day of good ole’ magical fun.

Sophie Sophia doesn’t get to decide whether or not she enters an alternate universe: in fact, if she could get rid of the ones she’s tossed into (through no desire of her own), she’d be much happier and significantly less freakish to her peers. Sophie knows that she isn’t crazy; after all, it isn’t her fault no one else can see marching bands made up of giant pandas. But nobody believes her except her friend Finny, who’s obsessed with Physics, and her missing-in-action father (who is “crazy” as well). And now her mom is threatening to move her away from the only friend she has made in years, and Drew, the cute boy who just asked her out.

How can you prove the existence of something that no one else can see?

Flavour: “’You ready?’ Mom said. I wasn’t ready when Dad left us in New York four years ago. I wasn’t ready when I started a new school in San Francisco two years later. I wasn’t ready when I saw the heart roll off the sleeve, records flying around at Record Mania, or Sting serenading me in the soda aisle. I wasn’t ready for a mind I couldn’t control, a reality that didn’t seem real and friends I couldn’t keep. No one wanted to bond with the strange girl….” (7)

“For the next half an hour, we bonded over Bauhaus and Beat Happening, The Psychedelic Furs and The Pixies. Drew and I clearly loved the same music. As it turned out, we liked a lot of the same books, too, like Salinger and Beat literature and the one he was named after: Nancy Drew. His mom was a librarian, which meant he was living with books while I was living with crazy.” (84)

“Half an hour later, I was looking up at the departure board at Amtrak. Everyone standing beneath it wanted to go somewhere: conference in Connecticut, reunion in Baltimore, boyfriend weekend in Boston. I wanted to go wherever Dad went and ask him questions. Why him? Why me? Why parallel universes? Couldn’t our brains think of anything else to do? Why didn’t our hearts pick another hobby instead?” (276)

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