Book Review + Giveaway: The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

Theory of Everything Kari Luna

We hosted Kari Luna back in July for her new YA novel, The Theory of Everything, and got a little peek at the kind of book it is. Advice on dealing with a shaman panda? It sounds quirky, whimsical and cool. So I was excited when my copy of The Theory of Everything finally arrived in the mail and I began reading. The Theory of Everything is everything I expected and more. It was quirky and original, yet so full of heart and spirit you’ll be wishing for a shaman panda of your own.

Sophie Sophia has an overactive imagination. Most would label that as hallucinations much to Sophie’s dismay. She and her mom have been on the move since her dad left them a few years ago. Sophie misses her dad but has a hard time forgiving him for leaving. It also doesn’t help that she inherited her dad’s wild imagination. She randomly finds herself transported to different dimensions, where bears fall from the sky, people burst out in song and dance, or where Walt the Panda offers her some sage advice. These types of things usually happen at inappropriate and inconvenient times, leading Sophie to make up sometimes strange excuses.

Sophie wants them to stop, but the only way she think she’ll figure out a solution to her problem is if she goes in search of her physicist dad. With the help of her physics-obsessed, new best friend Finny, they work together to discover the possibilities of science and ultimately love.

The_Theory_of_EverythingWhen I first realized that physics and science were going to play a big role in the story, I was slightly worried that it would lose me. I failed Physics in high school and generally have a low aptitude for all things scientific. (Seriously, I still don’t know why they thought it was a good idea to put me in the Science Honors program.) However, Luna makes it captivating by linking physics to emotions and love, turning it into an art, something that I undoubtedly appreciate. Also, this book is full of awesome music! I found myself longing to make a mixtape (or playlist) of my own as I finished the novel.

Most people would see Sophie’s problem as black and white: the girl hallucinates, hence she’s crazy. Of course, Sophie doesn’t want to think she’s crazy, but she has that lingering doubt. Then she becomes friends with Finny, a lover of science and thus open to an insurmountable amount of possibilities. He doesn’t think she’s crazy and tries to help her solve her problem the best way he knows how: through science.

Everyone needs a friend like Finny. I absolutely adored their burgeoning friendship. While the book deals with family love, even some romantic love, it’s really Sophie and Finny’s friendship that added so much heart and precociousness to the story. Not to discount the connection between Sophie and her Dad, because that also played a significant part in the story and was just as emotionally resonant as Sophie’s friendship with Finny.

If you want to read something funny, quirky and different, Kari Luna’s The Theory of Everything is a book to seek out. On the outside, it seems like a light read, but it’s surprisingly darker than expected. The emotions give this book some weight, and the magical realism is something to think about. Any book that can provoke thoughts and conversation is always worth investing time in, especially when it involves a shaman panda.

Rating: 9/10

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna is now available wherever books are sold.

Book Info:

Publisher:  Philomel (July 10, 2013)
Length:  320 pages (Hardcover)
Series: N/A
Source: 1st Edition Hardcover
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Science, Friendship
Completed: September 2013


Thanks to author Kari Luna, I have Theory of Everything posters and buttons to give away to some lucky readers!



Enter to win through the Rafflecopter widget below. The more tasks you complete, the more entries you will receive. The contest ends on October 2nd at 12:01am EST. Winners will be contacted via email by October 3rd. Good luck!

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Gabrielle is 27 years old and lives in Chicago. She enjoys writing about film, TV, and books, but occasionally writes about music as well. In addition to writing for, she also the editor-in-chief and a co-founder. In her spare time, she’s either watching more movies and shows or reading more books, while continuously checking Twitter, which she may or may not be addicted to… Feel free to email her your thoughts, ideas and questions.
  • Austin Baroudi

    A panther!