Harmonicas used to be given to patients that needed to rehabilitate their lungs. I wish one had been provided for me while reading this book -- because that is how heavy the novel felt on my soul.
Echo combines several sad stories into one -- all connected to a magical harmonica and the power of sibling love. We meet Friedrich, whose disability alienates him from fulfilling Nazi requirements, Mike who must protect his little brother at all costs and poor Ivy who is subjected to racism. All of these kids lives are at stake, turning this novel into a race against time.
Regardless of scene after scene filled with teary moments, Munoz Ryan made her novel extra gripping, by placing careful attention to her main and secondary characters. All of them had the world working against them, and yet their spirit was always positive. At almost 600 pages, I found the novel too long and frankly a little too sad for middle-graders, but can undoubtedly see a YA crowd devouring this. I only wish the first few pages about witches would have been omitted altogether.
Worth the read!!