Read The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna Online


One part Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE, two parts String Theory, and three parts love story equals a whimsical novel that will change the way you think about the world.Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good andOne part Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE, two parts String Theory, and three parts love story equals a whimsical novel that will change the way you think about the world.Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad. Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love. Perfect for fans of Going Bovine, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Probability of Miracles....

Title : The Theory of Everything
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399256264
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Theory of Everything Reviews

  • Veiledhorizon
    2019-01-13 14:28

    This book gave me the "feels". My heart is so overwhelmed with emotions right now. My head is also spinning with so many questions. This book T.T I guess I have "this calling" to read books about physics. They are just so touching I promise you. This book is about physics,love and music. It is about how these things affects the main character and her relationships with the people seeing her. I love the plot and the characters. I didn't feel like hitting any of the characters nor did I get bored of this book. Let's break it down:The charactersThe main character,Sophie Sophia is a shy and quiet girl and she has an obsession for music from the late 80s.(this made me feel connected to her as I'm just like her) Also, she has a secret. She encounters these "episodes" which she passes off as hallucinations. Later on,she figures out that they are not merely hallucinations but something bigger.(I shall not say it because that will be a major spoiler. But I will give you a hint: it has something to do with a physics theory) Well,so she is a very curious person. She wonders why her dad had left her family behind so she goes on this "adventure" to figure out her "hallucinations" and her father who has been missing.(she later finds out)Finny is a really lovable character too. He is really passionate about physics and a genius at it.(I kinda envy him since I suck at physics haha) He wants to be a physicist just like Sophie's dad.(I apologise for not mentioning earlier) Finny is such an awesome best friend. He listens to Sophie's feelings and thoughts and, always tries to help her out. So, he accompanies Sophie on the "adventure" to find her dad. He helps Sophie so much along the way and I really admired that about him. (I want him to be my best friend. He's like the ultimate guy best friend) Then, Sophie and Finny meets side characters such as Peyton and Betty. They are both really understanding characters and they also offer advice and support to Sophie when she shares her "hallucinations". Sophie's mom is a really concerned mom. She pays attention to her daughter and loves Sophie a lot. However,there are arguments between Sophie and her mom but they get resolved quickly. And,of course, Sophie's dad is a very mysterious physicist. He disappears and appears again after a while but this time,he went missing for many years. And,so, Sophie searches for him. Later on, Sophie finds that she and her dad are connected and that's through physics!! (Both of them experience "hallucinations") Her dad is also a really sweet man. He cares for Sophie a lot and he did many things for her.(not spoiling)Now, the plot.Since I covered most of the plot along with the characters unknowingly, I shall state what I felt about the plot. The plot was an unique one. It is a plot filled with many possibilities. That's why it intrigued me a lot. There are explanations of connections between physics and love we would have never thought of. It's a really interesting plot. The explanations are really clear and I had a lot of epiphany moments. As I turned the pages,my heart ached(towards the end especially) as Sophie finds out that her dad loves her so much. (Such an endearing relationship) So,Sophie learns the theory of everything and puts it into action.(you'll find out when you read this Bol XD) There was one problem had with the book hence the 4 stars. (But that will give out a major spoiler so I can't state it.)So, I recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary(I think that's the genre of this book) or physics or 80s music or anyone in general haha.

  • Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
    2019-01-15 19:44

    Things I Liked: The Fantastical, Beautiful Worldview of the MC: Ok, it may sound twee or just a little too magically realistic to have a character who legitimately believes that she sees pandas and moshes in a cafeteria. But honestly? It works because Sophie's visions are so delightful and interesting and you love her for having visions that involve cool things, like bands and dancing animals. And the other reason why it works is thing number two that I liked.The Book Dealt With Mental Illness in a Unique and Understandable Way:  The very idea that Sophie "sees" things, and whether they are a symptom of her own mental illness or actually her being completely sane with magical powers is a huge question through the book. That issue of "real or not real" is one I think that teens with serious mental illnesses deal with all the time. As a teen with some depression issues, I remember feeling frustrated because no one believed that it wasn't just me being moody or stuck in some "teen phase." In this book, it becomes even more important to establish that real or not real line when things take a turn for the worse and Sophie's episodes start hurting her physically.Whether or not you believe in the magic of the book, I thought the mental illness part of it was dealt with sensitively and with a variety of very realistic reactions. I think this was the biggest strength of the novel: that it didn't make things just go away, and that Sophie's journey is very much tied to her own recognition of her problems.Wired.comThe Playlists, How-To Lists,  and "Source Material": Sophie is obsessed with 80s music and cassette tapes, so we get a lot of her playlists. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. She also makes lists of things like, "How to Get Along At A New School" that help frame the book. And there's another big "source material" piece that I loved but don't want to give away. Suffice to say, it's GOOD.Read the rest of this review at Mostly YA Lit

  • Jen
    2019-01-02 18:17

    Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC that I received in exchange for an honest review!Sophie Sophia, a high school sophomore, hallucinates-- spectacularly whimsical hallucinations involving singing, dancing, parades or animals that talk. She eventually meets Walt, her shaman panda in charge of helping her navigate this path of major confusion and concern. Her missing father, a brilliant physicist, disappeared a few years prior and also used to hallucinate. When she meets Finny, a fan of physics and string theory, and they become friends, she finally gets the courage to travel to New York City to track down her father and find answers.The Theory of Everything is a quirky story that is hard to define, which is always a plus in my opinion. Sophie has hallucinations that begin when, one day, she sees a heart fall of a stranger's sleeve onto the floor... her visions have beauty and poetry to them, although they can cause many embarrassing moments and awkward explanations to those witnessing. Sophie is the heart of the book and her character is fun to read; she's funny, honest and has a truly unique worldview while trying to figure out the deal with her missing father and the question of whether or not she is mentally ill. My only problem was her age-- she's 14 in the book, but seems so much older... she felt more like 16 to me. She has a wit and wisdom beyond a mere 14 years old, but maybe that doesn't matter too much. I also really enjoyed that the visions/hallucinations weren't totally explained either-- was it mental illness? Alternate universes? Does it matter? I've had students who are schizophrenic and have hallucinations, but they are scary, nightmarish visions that terrify them and the kids are heavily medicated. This is not a realistic (I don't think) story about mental illness, but I like that Sophie's experiences are undefined and ambiguous. Plus, can I just say, in yet another book that I've read in the past few weeks, that mixed tapes play a heavy role in the story? I'm loving this passionate resurgence of 80's music and mixed tapes, not because the characters are hipster or retro or whatever, but that these qualities express something about the characters and the mixed tapes are used as an expression of love. Very cool.

  • Heather
    2018-12-23 16:23

    *This is an ARC review.Any excerpts or quotes are taken from an unfinished text and may change before the final print*So freaking much to love about this book, you guys. Not going to lie: the first thing that hooked me was this phrase from above:Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties.Look, I'm old. Like recently graduated from my third decade old (But I am still a firm believer that 40 is the new 20...) so ANYTIME 80s music, film, or pop culture is a theme in a book I am usually in like Flynn. And late 80s music? Even better. And I am going to straight up tell you that the music references in this book ROCKED. Here a sample of some of the many tweets I wrote while reading:Heather R.‏@[email protected] On p. 4 of The Theory of Everything & already a D'Mode & Love&Rockets reference! *digs back into book w/a WIDE smile on face*Heather R.‏@[email protected] p.6 The Cure & The Smiths- atta girl! Yay for the best 80s music & now I REALLY wish I had tix for this yr's Lollapalooza:)(Which then devolved into my lamenting that I cannot attend this year's Lollapalooza...)In other words, I'm a fan of late 80s music. Did you read Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park and love the music? Then you will TOTALLY appreciate Kari Luna's music selections in The Theory of Everything. But it's not just the music or the fact that the main character Sophie Sophia is sort of obsessed with all things 80s (No Cd's or mp3s for this girl, she rocks an old school Walkman:)) The Theory of Everything takes something as out there as theoretical physics and makes it hip and cool. Another theme I always enjoy in the books I read? Art. And although no one is described as being an artist in this book, the descriptions of Sophie's father's many experiments are very installation art-y in feel. So, music references, check. Science references for the inner geek in me, check. And subtle nods at art themes, check. In other words, this is a total "Heather" book. (Ok, enough fangirling, on to the serious review part:)As you can read in the above synopsis, Sophie Sophia is not your average girl. She's left of center, and just fine with that. As a matter of a fact, she is pretty wise for a 14 year old girl. So much so that I keep thinking she was much older as I read. She has been living with her mom since her father disappeared a few years earlier. Her mother has uprooted and moved her around quite a bit before she finally lands in Havencrest, Illinois. But don't feel too sorry for her because Sophie lets stuff like that roll off her with relative ease. In fact, one of the parts I love most about her character are her "How To" lists. Check out Kari Luna's website and read Sophie's "How to Survive (Possible) Interdemensional Travel" list to see what I mean:) And even luckier for Sophie, on her first day of school (a very Smalltown, USA type school) she meets a kindred soul named Finny, who is an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING character, and who becomes her best friend. But more on Finny in a bit.But there is more to Sophie than meets the eye. First off, there is some family drama. See, dad didn't just take off when Sophie was a kid, he literally DISAPPEARED. Sophie has not heard from him since that fateful night he kissed her goodbye and walked out the door. And the thing is, Sophie and her dad were SUPER tight. As an only child, Sophie's dad absolutely worshipped his daughter. And to Sophie her dad was her best friend.But Sophie's dad wasn't like a normal dad. He was a theoretical physicist and about as eccentric as they come. Some of Sophie's most beloved memories are when her dad's eccentricity was in full effect. Because he was, for a young child, the most fun dad, ever.The upstairs neighbor gave me one of her Catholic charms--Our Lady of Sorrow--and I pressed that thing in my palm so hard it left a mark. I wasn't sure why the lady was sorry, but I knew why I was--my best friend was gone. I wrote Dad letters and even though I never heard from him, I still missed him. He used to make flowers out of paper and waltz around in wacky hats while sharing his newest theory about cupcakes and quantum. "Angelino, stop it," Mom would say. "You're scaring her." But I saw the ends of her mouth curl up when she said it, like she was trying not to laugh. Mom wanted me to stay grounded. But how could I when Dad was always lifting me up?Unfortunately there was a dark side to this type of behavior, and as Sophie flashes back to her childhood memories of her dad, this side rapidly leads to dangerous situations. As you might imagine, Sophie's feelings about her dad are all over the place. On the one hand she is angry that her dad left and hasn't contacted her. But on the other hand she is just sad and misses him terribly. Sophie's love of 80's music, for example, is a direct connection to her dad who used to make fantastic 80's mixed tapes. If this was the entire story it would be an awfully compelling read in and of itself, but there is MORE. On top of the family drama, Sophie has a secret. A big one. She sees things, things like inanimate objects coming to life. And even cooler, she travels places. Like to a grocery store where the musician Sting serenades her or lands onstage at a Cure concert circa 1980-something where she is the lead guitarist to Robert Smith's vocals:Blue lights went up, the crowd completely freaked, and Robert Smith turned around and smiled--smudged red lipstick and all. I was onstage with The Cure.(Dude, that was the COOLEST freaking scene EVER! Did I mention I have seen The Cure in concert three times??? Moving on.... )And when she has these episodes she loses time only to "wake up" back in her own time with a "souvenir", something she brings back from wherever she goes when she "travels." Ok, let's get this out there: Sophie is not mentally disturbed. She's not schizophrenic and what she is seeing aren't hallucinations. And it turns out that this "traveling" may be yet another connection she shares with her dad. As Sophie discovers, she may actually be traveling to parallel universes (see, this is where all that cool theoretical physics stuff comes in.)For those of you who have been following along and are now thinking "Uh, this may be too much..." STOP RIGHT THERE. Look I like books that deal with time travel and parallel universes (and there seem to be more and more of them lately, am I right?), but I admit that sometimes they confuse the HECK out me. However, at no time in my reading of The Theory Of Everything did I ever feel lost or even confused. Not even when Sophie meets talking pandas in a alternate world inhabited by nothing but talking pandas (they are unbelievably cool, by the way.) In fact, it was just the opposite. I was RIVETED. I wanted to know more. More about string theory and M-theory and more about Stephen Hawking's views on The Theory of Everything. I was utterly fascinated. I am an art/ literature/ history kind of girl. Math and some of the higher sciences usually go right over my head. Who knew that physics could be so much fun? :)Guys, The Theory of Everything is one of the most imaginative and creative books I have had the pleasure of reading in a long time. I was completely caught up in Sophie's story, completely engrossed in her quest to learn more about her dad and why she sees what she sees. What about characters? Well, did I mention Finny? Best book bestie ever! You know I love my secondary characters, and Finny has got to be one of the most endearing I have read. I dare you to not fall for him too. He is intensely loyal, super smart, very generous, not to mention witty and playful (he has the most AWESOME tree house where he goes to relax,) in other words, he is the perfect companion to help Sophie with her quest. And here is some insider info: Author Kari Luna told me that Finny is based on a real person. There is a real life Finny out there somewhere. That just makes me smile even harder:)While there is a sweet romance storyline with a very adorable James Dean-ish boy, it's the family and friendship themes in this book that really stand out. It is a coming of age story wrapped up in a creative package, but it also a fabulous look at connections between people. Connections of the romantic variety; connections between a daughter and her mother and a daughter and her father; and connections between two friends that are truly two sides of the same coin. These type of connections are what makes this not only a great 'voyage of self discovery' type book, but also a really fantastic feel good read too. So you see, I can't recommend this book enough. If you are looking for a book that is fresh and different and breaks away from the typical YA magical/supernatural-ish storyline; a book that is smart but not so high brow that you are completely lost; and a book that will leave you with a big old grin on your face because the characters are just plain FUN to read about then you MUST give this book a shot. *Oh, and young at heart readers that are fans of old school alternative music, like me, will definitely want to read this simply for the nostalgic song selections Kari Luna adds to the book too:) And check this out: you can download one of Kari's mixtapes on her site too! What kind of songs will you find? The Smiths, Love and Rockets, Joy Division, New Order and U2 to name a few:)*Favorite Quote:Music was memory.

  • Jen Ryland
    2018-12-19 15:21

    In short: a 14 year old manic pixie dream girl tries to find her long lost father.Sophia's mother struggled for years to deal with her crazy-brilliant physicist husband, and now Sophia is exhibiting the same odd symptoms. Sophia hallucinates -- wild, imaginative scenes involving talking pandas that pull her out of reality and into interludes that are like a combination of the movie Fantasia + an LSD trip + a movie musical production number. I appreciate the way this book shows the emotional destruction and heartbreak that an untreated mental illness can wreak on a family. The book shows how Sophia's father's wild creativity and spontaneity seemed fun at first. Then he started doing strange and alarming things -- vanishing without warning and taking actions that endangered others.There is some discussion of physics, though the characters use physics mainly as a way for Sophia and her father to explain away human behavior that would, to most people, seem disturbing. Sophia is ardently against doctors and psychiatrists and believes that she can cure herself. Or that love can cure her father. I got the impression that this book wanted to suggest that the explanation for Sophia and her father's behavior isn't a matter of brain chemistry, but … physics? I accept that sometimes there is a fine line between genius and madness and I LOVE books about quirky characters who see the world in different ways. That said, it seemed to me that the main character of this book had to be suffering from a mental illness and the fact that her symptoms were not acknowledged as such but shrugged off as a quirk (or a quark?) left me confused and somewhat uncomfortable.

  • Katy Noyes
    2018-12-31 19:19

    Teenage read with brains. Quirky, yes - a teenager in a new town, unreliable but loving father who has left, has hallucinations (she calls them episodes) about giant pandas and the lunch ladies in school breaking into song. It's all related to her brilliant physicist father, who also had episodes.Sophie makes a friend, finds tentative love, and goes on a search for the missing father who she hopes has some answers about her episodes. And also has help from her shaman panda Walt.There's a lot that's familiar, but plenty that's original, quirky and fun. And there's a core of love at the centre of it all.Sweet, funny and refreshing.

  • Erin
    2018-12-24 14:31

    Theory of Everything is a delightful look into the soul and what it means to love and be loved. Fresh and original, this debut puts Kari Luna solidly on the map, reminding us that a book doesn't need to have death and violence to be a damn good story.Sophie is an unusual girl, and she's had an unusual life. Her father, Angelino Sophia, is a theoretical physicist at NYU and is also an eccentric. Along with his passion for the world, he passes on to Sophie an odd condition: hallucinations, or "episodes" as they call them. During her episodes Sophie travels to different places and does incredible things, coming back to the real world minutes or sometimes hours later with tangible souvenirs that she's been gone. For all intents and purposes, she's crazy, but Sophie (and her dad) want to think otherwise. Instead of seeing the darkness, they want to see the wonderful possibilities. But when Sophie's dad leaves and she and her mom move around the country trying to escape the consequences of her episodes, Sophie begins to yearn for real answers.While on the outside this book might seem like it's about mental illness, it's not. At no point is Sophie diagnosed wtih schizophrenia or bipolar mania, and while Sophie worries about being crazy, she never truly believe she is. Sophie is our guide to her odd and beautiful world, and it's her word that we trust.Sophie was a fantastic character: bright and enthusiastic with a genuine voice. You're drawn into her world from page one and never get bored. Her obsession with mixtapes (on actual cassettes) and her quirky fashion sense set her apart from other heroines. While Sophie's ultimate goal is to fit in, for her that doesn't mean dressing and acting like everyone else. What Sophie really wants is friends, and maybe a boyfriend. She wants people that she can trust with the truth about herself. But how do you really trust someone and let them into your life when you've spent so much time keeping secrets and keeping people out?Theory of Everything is a road trip: both in the mind and in the world. Sophie is our navigator, and it was a pleasure to journey with her. The best part about this book: there's no cookie cutter answer, and no perfectly tied up ending. Sophie's story is about finding yourself and learning to love, and that kind of journey never really ends.

  • RA
    2018-12-27 21:20

    Would recommend: EhFor the life of me, I can not remember why I put this on my to-read list. I think wherever I read about it mentioned similarities (or a connection? or something?) to A Wrinkle in Time, but I have no idea. Well. This book is no Wrinkle, and it's probably grossly unfair for me to compare the two because the only common ties are a girl looking for a father and references to physics. The book is not bad. It tries so darn hard to be quirky and hip that it misses the mark on things like, oh, character development and plot. Even after 1/3 of the book, the main character hadn't DONE anything or GONE anywhere. I don't think most YA readers would care to hang on that long. After that, things picked up, but still, the story is not well founded. We never know why anyone cares about anyone else. It's a lot of exposition, interspersed with obscure (to me) music references. And WHY is the main character named Sophie Sophia?! It was maddening.

  • Mark Russell
    2019-01-12 14:18

    The thing I liked about The Theory of Everything is that it doesn't try too hard to be a young adult novel. It's very accessible, and yet, never panders or talks down to its audience. Luna casually drops references to quantum physics and 80's music and trusts young readers to keep up. Which, trust me, they can. Luna's protagonist Sophie deftly navigates the alienation of being uprooted to a new school with the help of a few shaman pandas, while searching for her missing father. Witty and imaginative, The Theory of Everything is ultimately about finding inner sources of strength in order to prevail over the powerlessness of youth, and I think this book would make a great companion for any sharp young person dealing with changes in their life.

  • Becky
    2019-01-15 16:30

    The beginning of this book was kind of a nightmare of things I don't like in books. Annoying hipster character. Overuse of pop culture references. And I wasn't sure if her mom was being willfully ignorant of Sophie's mental disorder, or if it was supposed to be some kind of magical realism thing. There is also a gay BFF I thought was too much of a teen girl's dream of what a gay BFF would be like.Then Sophie and said BFF go to New York and this book gets a lot better. I liked the string theory stuff and everything about love. Both Sophie and her BFF become more like real people. I ended up lightening up and enjoying it. Can I forgive how hipster-y it is though? Probably not. Not really my style.

  • Zoe
    2019-01-08 21:22

    I am so grateful that Ms. Luna wrote this book about Sophie Sophia, a 14-year-old girl obsessed with 80s music who wears striped socks, sews pockets on her skirts, and occasionally, unwillingly slips between parallel universes. Ms. Sophia is guided by Walt, her shaman panda (a wonderful alternative to the sensitive English teacher found in many YA books), assisted by Finn, her fabulous gay best friend (because no teen girl can survive without one), and only slightly distracted by Drew, her Kerouac-reading crush. This book is for all the strange kids who write on their Converse sneakers with sharpies and for all the adults who believe that love beats cynicism.

  • Amber
    2019-01-09 20:16

    I am totally in LOVE with this book!I gave it FIVE STARS plus a mint on the pillow.Mixtapes filled with 80's awesomeness, marching pandas and the theoretical physics of love make this story of abandonment, questionable mental illness and self-acceptance a truly fascinating journey.

  • Jenny
    2019-01-12 14:42

    I found this book in a Little Free Library last year when I was bringing books for the box. It looked interesting. It had a lovely note inside: "You are a wonderful piece of this world. It would not be complete without you.❤" I registered the book on Bookcrossing - and I am planning to leave the note inside when I let this book go. I hope the next person who finds this book will like it.My Review: Really amazing YA story. I would love to read something else by this author.

  • Merin
    2018-12-18 21:22

    I went into The Theory of Everything hoping that I'd find a charming, contemporary read that would make me smile. Of late, I've been reading a lot of paranormal books, and was kind of tired of them so wanted something that would do a complete 360*. Thankfully, that's exactly what I got from this book: while having quite a lot of scientific talk - physics, to be exact - I was utterly charmed by the main character, Sophie, and the cast of characters that surrounded her throughout her journey.This book was very different than anything I'd ever read. Sophie, our main character, sees things that others can't see, which obviously causes problems for her and her mother. Her "mental illness" has resulted in suspensions/expulsions from school and several moves to different locations where her mom hopes they can start over with a clean slate. Having settled this time 50 miles north of Chicago, Sophie is hoping that her "episodes" will stop and she can finally have a normal life. While in her new town of Havencrest, Sophie befriends an absolutely amazing character named Finny, develops a crush on Kerouac-reading Drew, and gets a visit from her shaman panda, Walt.Part of the craziness of this book is the fact that the reader isn't really sure if Sophie is indeed hallucinating or if she's actually traveling to various parallel universes. Deciding that she cannot keep living like this, Sophie and Finny travel to New York, where Sophie hopes to speak with her father, who suffered from the same problems. What results is a cross-country journey into personal introspection, sort of a road trip without the road. Throughout it all is Finny, possibly the awesomest best friend of all time, who - instead of telling Sophie she's crazy - decides that this is one heck of a journey and that he will go with her every step of the way.While Sophie's journey is equal parts strange, amusing, emotional and downright heartbreaking in places, it was actually Finny who made this book for me personally. He had all of these really great lines, and just really seemed to get Sophie and what she needed each step of the way. He was equal parts physics-obsessed and happiness-inducing, not only for Sophie, but also for the reader. Honestly I don't think this book would have been half as good as it was without him, and I can only wish I had a Finny of my very own. Seriously, you should read this book just for him!The Theory of Everything is a fantastic contemporary read with a twist. There is a lot going on in this book, from Sophie's episodes, to trying to fit into a new place, to dealing with family secrets, drama, and first crushes. If you're charmed at all by the synopsis or the cover (seriously, this has the perfect cover!), then pick it up because I don't think you'll be disappointed. I had a ton of fun with this one, and would definitely recommend it!An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***To see more of my reviews, please visit me @ Read and Reviewed!

  • Ashley (Loves Books)
    2018-12-29 18:43

    ***A version of this review will be posted to Ashley Loves Books at a later date.***One of my main notes I wrote down was: Chaotic. There is a certain amount of chaos that permeates this entire book, and sometimes it was a little odd or hard to track; but at the same time, it really works and reflects the content well. This is about String Theory and parallel worlds and traveling across time and dimensions – I’d be a little more worried if it were straightforward and clear! Still I should warn that there are some moments where I definitely had to re-read a few paragraphs to reorient myself to what was going on. It was mostly when Sophie was shifting into another world, but a few other times as well.The entire plot of this novel was so funny and creative, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. I mean, how could you not want to visit a panda-verse and have a panda shaman?! I want a panda guide! Even if he was so frustrating with his riddles and letting her figure things out for herself (guides, man – so unhelpful until you realize how helpful they are). All the dimensions Sophie finds herself in are so much fun, and I love that they’re unique and adventuresome without being terrifying or too old for the novel. It creates this awesome playful vibe as you read, and I loved being in it. Even though at it’s core it’s about her missing father and her search for his love, there’s still a nice happiness and anticipation that moves through all the words.A lot of that is probably thanks to Finny, Sophie’s new physics-obsessed friend. I LOVE FINNY. Oh my goodness. I have never wanted to snatch a friend out of a novel so badly and keep his as my own. He’s such a loyal, brilliantly funny friend, and he is perfect for Sophie. If I could hug him forever, I would.One of the only things I had to keep doing was remind myself Sophie is only 14. I can’t figure out if I thought some of the things she was going through were a bit older, or if I thought she should be older to fully understand some of the things going on—but I definitely had to take a few steps back and say “she’s 14. She’ll get there.” It was most obvious when she was just getting to know Drew, since it’s her first real crush and possible-relationship. It was like she was just discovering what it meant to be the object of someone’s affection, and somehow it seemed a bit odd fitting into this whole story about love and how love is possible and cures all.There were so many things I loved about this book. The weird family and how they fit together even when they were kind of breaking apart. All the lists that Sophie made to get through situations. Even how we kind of know what may happen in the end was satisfying, and I wouldn’t want it to work any other way.The Theory of Everything has a little of everything in it for everyone: friendship, romance, family, and the overarching lessons of love and how it can literally push things beyond what we know. You’ll love the people you meet, the places you go, the musical numbers that surprise you, and the panda that guides you.

  • Kay
    2019-01-16 17:21

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I jumped into The Theory of Everything. From the synopsis, it could have gone anywhere from « completely insane » to « not nearly as original as it pretends to be ». Luckily, the book fell comfortably somewhere in between the two extremes, offering a touch of magical realism that was still well grounded on Earth.Reading The Theory of Everything put me in such a great mood! I’m not sure how to explain it. I appreciated Kari Luna’s humor, her colorful imagination, her quirky characters, and her giant talking pandas, of course! I also loved all of the ’80s nostalgia that surrounded the book, mainly with the music; I felt like the author used it efficiently to build Sophie Sophia’s character, and to create a unique link to her father.The book also had much more depth than I had expected. I thought it would be a mostly fun and crazy adventure, but Sophie’s quest to find her extravagant father turned out to be much more emotional than I would have thought. Some of Sophie’s memories of her father were simply heartbreaking, the way some childhood memories are when you think back on them with a more mature point of view. Even though I was rooting for her to find some answers, I was also a little scared that she would only get hurt more.Lucky for her, Sophie was surrounded by a nice cast of characters who truly cared for her. Mainly she was accompanied by her new best friend Finny, whom I simply adored. He was colorful, entertaining, but also didn’t hesitate to put Sophie back in her place when she needed it. His interest in physics was super cute, but it also made him the perfect companion for Sophie’s quest. I also liked the touch of romance the author added with the character of Drew. They were a good match, even though Drew was quite secondary to everything else that was going on.For the longest part it wasn’t clear whether Sophie Sophia was hallucinating from some mental illness or really traveling through dimensions, and I think that book is a perfect occasion to open discussion on the subject. I can’t say that I am entirely convinced by the explanations for it all, and it is maybe the only place for me where the book lost a few points. Sophie is so convinced that she isn’t crazy, that physics are the cause for what she sees, that she travels rather than hallucinates; yet I, as a reader, wasn’t so convinced, and it both worried and saddened me. I wish the author could have insisted a little more on the « mental health » side of the story rather than brushing it aside so easily. Just a thought.All in all though, I really, truly, deeply adored this book. It made me smile, it tugged at my heart, it took me to a new universe and absolutely entertained me. It won’t be for everyone, but if you can accept a little bit of magic and giant pandas in your universe, then The Theory of Everything is a book you might want to add to your wishlist!

  • Bill
    2019-01-14 17:16

    Nope, she’s not schizoid, not doing hallucinogenics. Sophie Sophia is an accidental tourist, popping between dimensions on the spur of the moment, whether she wants to or not.One minute she’s walking home after school past the athletic field, and the next instant she is part of a panda marching band; or she’s in the school cafeteria with her Friday cheese pizza, when the lunch ladies break out in a cover of the Ramones’ “Rock n’ Roll High School.” What’s happening? Sophia’s dad was a NYU theoretical physicist intrigued with string theory – no, Kari Luna this book’s talented and very imaginative author doesn’t bore us with endless theoretical physics lessons – and a fellow accidental – or maybe purposeful – inter-dimensional traveler as well –and one terrific dad who dazzled his daughter with fun and love. Then where is he? Did he desert the family? Doesn’t he love his Sophia anymore?Sophie Sophia travels, meets new friends in our dimension and another, and most importantly learns about love, forgiveness, and self confidence – and thanks to Kari Luna’s extraordinary imagination, learns about these in the most quirky – my daughter’s word for this very cool novel and a perfect one for this book it is – and captivating manner. This is one of the most imaginative YA novels I have ever read.Merged review:Nope, she’s not schizoid, not doing hallucinogenics. Sophie Sophia is an accidental tourist, popping between dimensions on the spur of the moment, whether she wants to or not.One minute she’s walking home after school past the athletic field, and the next instant she is part of a panda marching band; or she’s in the school cafeteria with her Friday cheese pizza, when the lunch ladies break out in a cover of the Ramones’ “Rock n’ Roll High School.” What’s happening? Sophia’s dad was a NYU theoretical physicist intrigued with string theory – no, Kari Luna this book’s talented and very imaginative author doesn’t bore us with endless theoretical physics lessons – and a fellow accidental – or maybe purposeful – inter-dimensional traveler as well –and one terrific dad who dazzled his daughter with fun and love. Then where is he? Did he desert the family? Doesn’t he love his Sophia anymore?Sophie Sophia travels, meets new friends in our dimension and another, and most importantly learns about love, forgiveness, and self confidence – and thanks to Kari Luna’s extraordinary imagination, learns about these in the most quirky – my daughter’s word for the very cool novel and a perfect one for this book it is – and captivating manner. This is one of the most imaginative YA novels I have ever read.

  • Luna
    2018-12-23 18:35

    The Theory of Everything is such a unique book and tempted me from the moment I heard about it. A young girl with her own shaman panda guide called Walt? It was too perfect to pass up.Not only is Sophie Sophia a brilliant narrator but Kari Luna’s debut is packed full of wonderful characters. I don’t often come across a story where I care about everyone, from Finny (who I wish had been my friend in school), Walt and Peyton to Sophie’s mother. I wasn’t expecting to sympathise with Sophie’s mother to the extent I did. It’s really easy to judge but the further into the story I got the more I understood her actions.There is a lot about The Theory of Everything I loved, the characters as I’ve mentioned but also the way the story is set out. Sophie’s trips/episode are fantastical but have a sweetness to them, like happy dream sequences. I did not understand why there had to be a love interest, personally I don’t think the Sophie’s story needed it.The Theory of Everything is a heart-warming adventure with amazing characters and a wise panda to guide you – definitely worth reading.

  • Sandy
    2018-12-24 17:30

    Sophie Sophia and her mother left her father because he was a little crazy. But now Sophie is hallucinating like her father did and despite her best efforts to hide it, it's getting worse. So she takes a chance and tells her best friend and they decide to use physics to try to solve the problem behind her hallucinations so she doesn't go crazy.At first, it was a great book. But then it goes a little weird. A little too much suspension of disbelief when you're trying to tie String Theory, traveling to parallel dimensions and heartbreak all into the same related storyline.

  • Danie
    2019-01-05 22:39

    Hmm. was a bit corny and all but it was a good readi kinda hated the whole "ooh i listen to old rock bands and use a Walkman with mixtapes and i wear vintage clothes that i cut and style myself i'm so quirky and misunderstood!!" thing going on but since she's fourteen, i'll let it slidealso the whole thing about filling the holes in your heart and Panda-verses seemed a bit sketchy to me

  • Gabrielle (
    2019-01-05 14:38

    It was quirky and original, yet so full of heart and spirit you’ll be wishing for a shaman panda of your own. Full review & giveaway at

  • Nina
    2018-12-19 22:30

    The Theory of Everything was a reread for me. I read it a couple of years ago and I never written a review for it. So last Saturday I read the book again & I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed reading The Theory of Everything. The main character Sophie is kind of a quirky girl who's new in town and has to deal with her missing father. On top of that she sees things! I adore that Finny, Sophies friend, is accepting Sophie for who she is and helps her on her journey to find her father. I love that Sophie is not alone on this journey and get some help.Sophie and Finn are really great characters and there is so much depth to them, that you just can't help and start loving them.The issues, the drama, the secrets and the twist are all so interesting that I kept turning pages to find more. If you are looking for a good contemporary, you should read The Theory of Everything.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-15 16:24

    Okay where to start!!The cover is what ultimately grabbed me to pick up this book. I mean she's kissing a panda with two other pandas in the background. Who wouldn't want to find out what thats about. The story itself is adorable on so many levels. I'm a kid of the eighties so main character Sophie spoke to my soul. Mix tapes are what got me through the teenage angst of heartbreak. My only wish is that the author would have made her a little older. I felt she was more mature than her given age. Her style and music made me love her more and more though.

  • Ari
    2019-01-06 22:45

    Ehhh, this was okay. I didn't love it. Super quirky and offbeat, which I'm not really that into, but if you like that sort of thing you'll probably appreciate this book. I did really enjoy the world that Luna built, and the relationship between Sophie and her father was one of the most compelling parts of the story.

  • amanda
    2019-01-13 22:36

    80s mixtape. travelling to other dimensions. making friends and finding love.

  • Anne
    2018-12-29 21:23

    I really enjoyed this quirky, yet uplifting story. As a retired teacher, I thought that Sophie and Finny were convincing teenagers.

  • Bethany Ainsworth
    2018-12-20 21:23

    I shelved it under realistic-fiction because Sophie's mom actually think Sophie is kind of mentally ill and she wants Sophie to get better. There's also Sophie's mom kicking out Sophie's dad due to his erratic behavior which Sophie's mom thinks is a sign of a dangerous man and wants to protect Sophie from him. Sophie's dad had gotten fired from his job because of his erratic behavior. Moving on:I think this book is interesting, that's for sure.I only knocked a star off because of the whole physics thing, which I kind of don't understand. There's also some of the questions that I will have which will go unanswered because it's a stand-alone book.Questions:1. How can she dimension hop?2. Is the dimension hopping based off of people's hearts not being whole?3. Where is Sophie's dad?I kind of want Sophie to meet another person who can dimension jump since it's implied that there are more people like her out there.I liked the fact that love is touched on. It's not the romantic love that is talked about. It's the love a kid and their parent have. It's friendship love. I guess it's loving yourself as well.Forgiveness is talked about. Sophie has to forgive her dad leaving and her mom for lying to her.I think the overall theme is: Love, forgiveness, moving on, and the future.It was overall a very interesting book.

  • Jessylyn
    2019-01-06 19:15

    The pandas are coming…Aww, aren’t they cute?The Theory of Everything is one part 1980′s, two parts Donni Darko, three parts String Theory and four parts of adorable. A nice cool contemporary cocktail that suited my taste buds.This is a coming-of-age story about a fourteen year old girl named Sophie Sophia. She’s a young girl stuck in the analog age, wears themed outfits, and loves 80′s music. She goes through things that a handful of teenagers her age go through: getting used to a new school, making friends, dealing with the trauma of a father that walked out on her, and receiving advice from her shaman panda. Wait, what was the last part? Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that Sophie has episodes, meaning she sees things that others don’t see. Now, this could mean that Sophie hallucinates or something else, but her episodes are so much fun to read about. It’s like if you combined the movie Donni Darko and Fantasia together you would get Sophie’s various episodes. Really trippy stuff. :DI feel like a lot of the books I enjoy have an amazing cast of characters and this book is no exception. Sophie is an adorable little girl finding her way in life, going through a journey of self-discovery. And then there are her two best friends.First off, there’s Walt. Sophie’s shaman panda who plays poker, attempted to conduct a panda marching band and gives enigmatic fortune-cookie advice. I honestly wished there was more of him in the book, but he showed up when he needed to. He’s a lovable panda. The kind who is more likely to give a hug, rather than a right-hook like other zoo pandas.Then there’s Finny….Finny, Finny, Finny…a.k.a. Fab Physics Boy, a.k.a Sophie’s best friend, a.k.a. the guy who knows how to do friendship the right way! Awhile back, Lottie @ Book Adoration discussed the absence of friends in Young Adult Fiction. Where were the friends in YA? It can’t be all be love triangles and junk. Well, I’m happy to say that the friendship between Sophie and Finny is a true testament to what a YA friendship should be. This is the guy that sticks with his best friend through thick and thin, through the ups and downs and brings out the comfort coffee when necessary. At first, I thought things were going to go differently. Sophie started out as the weird new girl with no friends when all of a sudden Fab Physics Boy pops out of nowhere. Now, in the YA books I’ve read the guy who sticks out like a sore thumb to the protagonist is usually a potential love interest. NOPE, not this time. And that’s not a bad thing. I adored Finny and wished I had a Finny of my own.That’s not to say there isn’t romance in this book, because there is. A rainbow-vomit inducing teen romance to be precise. No, there’s no hot passionate make-out session you can read about, but there is a sweet romance present. It’s mainly the awkwardness and adorableness of a first love. But gosh-darn-it, it’s freaking cute! By the end of the book, I was squeeing like crazy because of the cuteness.I love how the underlying theme is love. Not just romantic love, but also the love between daughter and mother, daughter and father and between friends. I feel like a lot of Young Adult Fiction books try to sell off physical attraction as love, but that wasn’t the case with this book. Love isn’t all happy endings. It’s also the hurt, the struggle and the ability to pick yourself up after being broken. It’s a really nice message once you think about it.The only issue I had with the book, a really small issue, was the lingo and 80′s references used. I am not an 80′s child, nor do I have any attachment to 80′s music. So sadly to say, all the 80′s band references were completely lost on me (sorry!). I had to look up who Morrissey was, what Ray Ban glasses looked like and even looked up some of the bands mentioned on YouTube. I think my lack of 80′s music knowledge really lessen my reading experience. If I did, I’d probably be fangirling even more over this book. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy The Theory of Everything because I thoroughly did. The story itself is very relatable. I honestly really wanted to see where this journey would take these kids and the trippy episodes were always a pleasure to read. :DWould I recommend it?Recommend! If you’re a paranormal lover like me and want to dive into contemporary, this is a good book to start with. But before you start, I also recommend embracing your inner 80′s as well.

  • Skyler
    2018-12-20 21:16

    Welcome to Sophie Sophia's life, where her father, Angelino Sophia, is an eccentric physicist obsessed with string theory and alternate dimensions. Sometimes his bizarre theories grow so large and obscure they appear to govern the logical side of his mind. Inanimate objects animating themselves is nothing new to Dr. Sophia. And while it is not unusual for him to disappear, without so much as a note, for days or even weeks at a time, mom, dad, and Sophie have always been a family bound together by love. Sophie's mom may think he's a bit too nutty for his own good but to Sophie, her brilliant father is her hero. That is, he was her hero until the day he left home and didn't return. For years, Sophie puzzles over her father's sudden disappearance, crossing her fingers that he hasn't abandoned them for good. As time passes, the dust begins to settle, revealing a far-off sense of normalcy. Things might seem alright, when you are on the outside looking in. But Sophie has been keeping a big secret from everyone around her. She and her father are more alike than anyone could have imagined. Inside Sophie's head, there's a tangled, complicated mess of hallucinations that surround her as she is dumped into peculiar events that spawn at the most inopportune times. "I usually popped into episodes already in progress, like when you hate the movie you paid for and sneak into another one. It was already playing, only now it was playing with you in the back row, confused about the plot but happy about the popcorn. The movie didn't come to me. I went to it. But now a panda from the football field was in my house, eating all the egg rolls. Nothing about that could be a good sign. 'Allow me to formally introduce myself,' he said, twirling both chopsticks in one hand. 'I'm Walt, your shaman panda.'"Guided by Walt and her new physics-enthusiast friend, Finny, Sophie is determined to travel to New York to find her father. Her plan of action may not be conventional; but when you've got visions speckled with musical marching pandas and the whole cafeteria spontaneously bursting into a raucous rendition of Rock 'N Roll High School by the Ramones, you know you've got to do something drastic. Dr. Sophia is the only one who can answer her pressing questions, the only one who can help her understand what's happening around her and maybe, just maybe, help her convince everyone that she's not crazy.'This is ridiculous. I'm being persecuted because I see the world differently than everyone else.''Not differently,' Mom said, sighing. 'Insanely. Everyone else walks through the world with their sanity intact.'I felt blood rushing up against my bones.'Including dad?''Your father had problems,' she said, her voice softening. 'Sophie, he was very very far from normal. You had to have known that.'"Author Kari Luna's approach to young adult fiction is somewhat hit or miss. While the characters are relatable and the writing style is smooth from start to finish, the ending is inconclusive. I was disappointed to discover that I ended the book with more questions than when I started! An air of mystery keeps readers guessing but there is such a thing as overdoing it to the point of ambiguity. It is possible, however, to set aside the cons and concentrate on the pros- those presenting themselves primarily in the form of comedic dialogue and outlandish adventures intertwined with a good plot twist or two. A wise panda once said,"You're definitely on the right path. The world is making space for your voyage."Now, I'm not entirely sure what that means, but now it's up to you to dig out your copy of The Theory of Everything and get ready to form your own interpretations of this quirky little book.

  • Anna (Curiosity comes before Kay)
    2018-12-20 19:35

    Sophie Sophia sees some pretty wonderful things: shaman pandas in marching bands, lunch ladies singing 'Rock 'n Roll High School' complete with dance moves and famous rockers that give advice. But these things don't exist in quite the same time/place as Sophie, so sometimes they cause her to do stuff that makes other people think she's crazy (like crowd-diving onto the popular girls at her new schools). These are the kinds of things Sophie's scientist Dad used to do and the reason that she and her Mom left him, moving away from his episodes. Now her Mom is getting scared that Sophie might have inherited a mental illness from her Dad. When she is guided by her shaman panda Walt to seek out her Dad in New York, to try and get some answers, things might never be the same again. With her friend Finny along for the ride and her Dad's book to give her some clues Sophie just might transform her own life, even if she can't save her Dad from himself. This whole book is built on a premise of whether or not the episodes are mental illness or Sophie and her Dad are slipping into alternate universes. It's a really intriguing concept for a YA novel to try to navigate, especially when there isn't any other paranormal/sci-fi aspect involved and it's just straight contemporary fiction! Sophie is an interesting girl, with unique fashion sense, a love of mix-tapes (anything analog, nothing digital with the Walkman to back it up!), and how-to lists for every event in life you could imagine. But I feel like I spent the whole book thinking about how cool she was and not really connecting to her until the ending. It's like when you meet up with some hipsters in a coffee shop and think they're interesting, but have no clue who they really are as a person. I did like that she was only fourteen and did act her age for the most part with the romance including a cute boy and a first kiss, instead of the prevalent epidemic of 'virginity loss' making an appearance as in many YA contemps. I liked the souvenirs as proof that Sophie really wasn't imagining the episodes, but at the same time they were things so generic that it still left you wondering as a reader. One of my favorite things about this book was Sophie's relationship with her best friend Finny, who is one of the first people she meets in her new town. He is understanding, has an awesome sense of style, loves the same stuff as Sophie and goes with her on the quest to find her Dad. Not to mention he helps her fix things with her cute, almost-boyfriend Drew after an episode almost ruins them. I want a Finny of my own! But the best thing for me in this book was shaman panda Walt. He is wise, hilarious, a great musician and truly wants to guide Sophie the best way possible. Plus hugging a panda after having an existential discussion with them just makes me want to find a portal into this book so I can do it too. I did feel like it overreached sometimes, and it definitely wasn't a perfect read. I felt too disconnected at the end to say that I truly loved it. Plus Sophie's still unresolved situation with her Dad at the end and her disappointing 'choice' in regards to the inter-universe travelling was disappointing. It was like when you ditch your imaginary friend because you're too old for them! :( All in all though, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to people really longing for something different, that don't mind baby-hipster main characters. Oh and props to Luna for the reference to Noah and the Whale! :)VERDICT: 3.75/5 Stars*I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication is July 11th, 2013.*