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Wonderful Feels Like This

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  612 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Sometimes the person who understands you the most is the person you least expect.

For Steffi, going to school every day is an exercise in survival. She’s never fit in with any of the other groups at school, and she’s viciously teased by the other girls in her class. The only way she can escape is through her music—especially jazz music.

When Steffi hears her favorite jazz s
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Flatiron Books (first published February 2012)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  612 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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Hmm. This is certainly interesting.

I must say, I'm quite unsure of how I feel about this one. On one hand, it's a fun, light-hearted story of standing out with all one's quirks and unique personality. It's a feel-good story. It makes you feel... dare I say it? It makes you feel wonderful.

On the other hand, WONDEFUL FEELS LIKE THIS, unfortuantely, offers nothing new that I have not seen before.

This saddens me, it does. Because, really and truly, the synopsis offers something fresh and new and in
Kayla K. (Kayla's Book Nook)
Upon requesting this book, it was mostly the confetti on the cover that drew me in, as well as my knowledge that this book was originally written in Swedish. Admittedly, I know next to nothing about Sweden other than the fact that it's in Europe and that its capital is Stockholm, so I was so happy to get a glimpse into the Swedish culture in this book!

Wonderful Feels Like This turned out to be a very unique, memorable story, but not one of my favourites. There were tons and tons of things that I
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The writing→ This was such a wonderfully written novel! I loved the style of writing Lövestam used. It was such a neat experience, switching between Steffi and Alvar- present and past. I really, really enjoyed how we got to 'go back in time'.

The characters→ I ADORED THESE CHARACTERS! Both Steffi and Alvar were so honest and real. Like, i feel like i could reach out my hands and touch them. (that's not weird.) I really admired Steffi's ambition, and I loved how down-to-earth Alvar was. Steffi's
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
DNF at 30%

I am just not able to wrap myself around this one. The time period keeps switching randomly and it is so hard to follow. I have just lost interest in this book. Not for me, unfortunately.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book continues when Steffi (The main character) goes on a trip with an old man she met on the bus who liked the same type of jazz as her. But when she decides to take a visit to her parents, her mother was mad at her. Her mom kept repeating "If you do good in school you will be lead to a great future. Steffi usually replied with a "how do you know where I can go with Jazz. This reminds of the Eagle hunters in Mongolia. The girl in Oklahoma read books about eagles, and one day her dad took a ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways, ya
Did you know that Sweden had a lively jazz scene in the 1940s? Alvar reminisces to his new friend Steffi, a burgeoning jazz musician who's bullied in her high school. A sweet story about following your dreams and being true to yourself. Jazz enthusiasts will truly appreciate the story.

Thanks to Goodreads for the ARC.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review can also be found at Lost in My Library. I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a really lovely surprise. I'll admit that I wasn't really engaged in the story at the beginning, but before I knew it, I was completely sucked in!

Steffi Herrera is such a wonderful character. Right from the beginning, I felt a connection to Steffi, and I think that will apply to tons of readers. It's not that she's relatable in any specific way - it's
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Plot: 15 year old Steffi is a jazz aficionado and a school outcast. She copes with her troubles by immersing herself into the world of jazz. One day on her way home from school she hears jazz music coming from a neighbors home. It is there where she meets Alvar, an man in his eighties who is not only a jazz aficionado as well but a man who lived in Sweden during WWII. As the novel progresses, Steffi and Alvar form a sort of friendship based on their love of jazz and where they tell each other th ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
efore I get into the review I’d like to address a couple of things. The first is my thanks to Flatiron books for reaching out to me and asking me to review this book. This fact in no way affects how I felt about the book, however.

Second thing I’d like to mention are a few trigger warnings for Wonderful Feels Like This, as there are some sensitive situations and topics. First up, there is mention of sexual abuse within a family. Secondly, there is bullying within the book – specifically name cal
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to A&U and Goodreads for my copy of Wonderful Feels Like This. I have mixed feelings about this book. The premise of the story is an interesting choice if this is intended as a YA novel. The parts narrated by Steffi, a year 9 secondary student, who is bullied and has feelings of not quite fitting in are typical of this genre but the voice of Alvar, a nursing home patient whom Steffi befriends, really felt a bit odd for a YA novel. As an adult I really liked Alvar's story of his adolescenc ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
The first paragraph:

"Steffi is becoming happy jazz. She lies on her striped bedspread, eyes shut, while deep down inside, she’s turning into an upbeat happy blues, a going- crazy-with-happiness blues. All the stupid people vanish into a fog far beyond her win dow; they’re nothing now as she walks the bass line with her guitar. She rubs away a few tears, which have mingled with the hair at her temples. Povel Ramel sings: Just slap them away like a mosquito! Who cares what they say? Get on with yo
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-ya
Superb YA taking place in Sweden, that brings attention to how isolating it can feel as a teen who doesn't quite fit in with their peers. This novel also highlights the value of intergenerational friendships, jazz music, and the importance of being kind. "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle of their own which you know nothing about" and this book does a brilliant job of demonstrating that truth from the perspectives of numerous characters. ...more
Oct 18, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF - couldn’t get into it.
Melissa Haber
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friendships do not always happen in the ways that we would expect.

For instance, when 15 year old Steffi finds herself listening to the jazz music pouring out of Alvar's nursing home window, she expected to be yelled at for loitering.

Instead, she is invited inside and a friendship based on a mutual love for jazz music is built.

Their conversations ignite in Steffi a passion for playing music and she wants nothing more than to get accepted into a music school in Stockholm, where Alvar was a success
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sweet story about a teenage girl befriending an old man, and their mutual love for jazz. The story deals with going your own way, following your dreams and passions, and not giving up when met with difficulty. Having the courage to be yourself and treating others with respect and kindness is a major theme in this novel that tells two different, yet similar, stories about a girl in a small town in modern day Sweden and a young man in Stockholm in the 1940s. Jazz music is the centre abou ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
**NOTE: This is a book that I won through a Goodreads giveaway**
I was not sure at first if I would enjoy this book but, it sucked me in and kept my attention throughout the book. There were so many things that happened that I was not expecting and for a book that was translated to English, it is very well translated! I also love how accurate the book was with the music and musicians involved. All in all, it was a very good and touching book. I can also identify with leaving home to try and accom
I loved this book. I think I'm a bit of a sucker for teen/olds friendship stories. This book is a just as much about Alvar's experience living and falling in love in Stockholm as a young jazz musician during World War II as it is about Steffi, and the two narratives come together in a lovely way. If you need a feel-good story, pick this up. ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
Steffi hates going to school. She lives in a small town with just a handful of people in her class, who all pick on her and make fun of her, spread lies, and are just downright mean to Steffi. She is just waiting until the end of the year so she can graduate and go to University for music. As long as she can survive until then, Steffi knows that the harassment she is getting at school won't matter anymore, because she will be at a school that she loves and all of the other kids will love the sam ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
{In the interest of giving full disclaimer, I was sent a free copy of this book by the publisher after winning a social media giveaway competition. }

'Wonderful feels like this' tells the story of 15 year old steffi Herrera. A music ( especially jazz) lover who dreams of attending music school and leaving behind her school bullies. Steffi dreams of becoming who she really is and leaving behind the persona that others have attached to her.
During this tough period of her life, steffi meets Alvar,
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
After reading Wonderful Feels Like This, I enjoyed it. One thing that I liked is how Sara Lovestam had a character tell their story with one of the characters in the book. Throughout the novel, a character named Alvar, would tell Steffi about his journey when he became a jazz musician. Even though Alvar went through some struggles along the way, he still pursued his dream. By having a character explain their story, this was a story allusion that inspired the main character to not give up on her ...more
Lia   Covington
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Lia's Bookish Obsession This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

“You reach a breaking point when you are tired of having to be the person your surroundings want you to be.”
- Wonderful Feels Like This, Sara Lövestam

Let’s begin with the obvious point, I gave this book a solid three starts. That being said I don’t think this book is absolutely amazing, it’s just left me at a state o
Maggie Stough
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I won an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway.

I think the most endearing part of this novel is the plot surrounding bullying. It was realistic, but not without hope. I think that aspect of the novel alone could be really important to a lot of young readers.

As an American, I'm not very familiar with Swedish culture and history, so reading this was a bit confusing at first, but ultimately educational and interesting. I did find the narrative voice a bit stilted at times, which I think might be due to
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little ambivalent about this book to start with. The two parallel stories I found a little distracting to begin with. The flash backs in the first half of the book I thought detracted from the flow of Steffie's story. As the book progressed they seemed to blend in and not chop and change as much or perhaps I became immune to them.
I liked Steffie's uniqueness, her quiet dignity when being bullied and never changing her love of jazz music despite peer pressure.
Alvar was also a very likea
Abi Ainley
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who's a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to books about music, I believe this to be one of the most emotional and moving descriptions of music in literature. The rhythm and flow of jazz was perfectly etched into every page of the book and it's worth reading just for that. On top of that the history of the genre and enthusiasm within the story was beautiful. I also loved Steffi's story with her being bullied and applying to music schools and how Lovestam threaded morals and philosoph ...more
Iqbal Hamizul
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May I start with the writing style? This is my debut-read for Lovestam's piece, and as it is for an English translation, Lovestam does have a charm for her writing. The words arrangement, unique kind of subject describing, and how she creates these memorable moments, thus crafted a loveable, memorable but quirky, strong and powerful hearts. Some parts I had to pause and reread the part, for the sake of digesting the scene and merge with the emotion and tense, I had to say, Lovestam wrote her sto ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lovely writing. A compelling dual story alternates between a solitary, musically talented ninth grader coming of age, and the remembered coming of age into adulthood of the aged jazz musician she befriends at a nearby retirement home. The romantic bits of Alvar's experiences during 1940's wartime Sweden are the best parts. Readers interested in music, particularly jazz, are going to get a little more out of this than the average reader, but satisfying overall. ...more
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The history of Swedish Jazz music during World War II... Sounds odd but it was really interesting. Now I need to go on YouTube and listen to recordings the author recommended.

One little side note- some things seemed odd or confusing but it was either cultural or the translation so I ended up just letting it go to enjoy the story. But what are "gymnasiums", as in the teachers keep talking about the kids picking their gymnasiums?
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Note: I received this book through a goodreads giveaway.

This book switches back and forth in time between present day and 1930s-40s. The author made it really obvious when the time period was switching which I do appreciate. Jazz and the other music of the era are what ties the two characters and their time periods together. I enjoyed reading both perspectives. The school age girl has a rough go of things. Kids are mean.
Infinite Scythe
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writing: interesting. Clearly lots of research was done.
Plot & pacing: for the most part the plot was interesting since I haven’t really read any books focused on this subject. Pacing was fair
Characters: interesting but at the same time flat. I didn’t really feel like there was much development.
Overall: quick read. The way nothing was done about the bullying made me sad but I also recognize that that’s often the reality. Was cool to learn a bit about jazz in Sweden.
Would recommend: yeah
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