Rating: High Five!
Who I'd Recommend to: Fans of any other of Pam Munoz Ryan's books, Cornelia Funke, and (just a little bit) Jerry Spinelli.
Synopsis (from Amazon): Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Echo is truly a beautiful story. With three different perspectives of children all affected, somehow or another, by World War II, I sped through this story, devouring Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy's experiences. My favorite perspective would probably be Mike's - he's actually the character I picked up on when starting this story again, and he instantly drew me in to his world. The writing is just incredible - but, I mean, it's Pam Munoz Ryan, so what do you expect? :) The story alone is fascinating and reason enough to celebrate - a special harmonica being passed from child to child and helping through their most difficult moments, and in some cases, even altering their lives? Golden. I loved every aspect of the book, even the heart-wrenching cliffhangers at the end of each perspective (which were resolved in the end of the book in an absolutely PERFECT conclusion). Overall, thrilled I picked this up again - but just realize that this extremely "different" book may take some time to get into.