GLLI Translated YA Book Prize Shortlist: Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lovestam (Sweden)

Sara Lovestam’s Wonderful Feels Like This is “a coming-of-age tale of a young artist and is as soulful as it is triumphant” (SLJ) that celebrates being a little bit odd, finding your people, and the power of music to connect us

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

When Steffi hears her favorite jazz song playing through an open window of a retirement home on her walk home from school, she decides to go in and introduce herself.

The old man playing her favorite song is Alvar. When Alvar was a teenager in World War II Sweden, he dreamed of being in a real jazz band. Then and now, Alvar’s escape is music—especially jazz music.

Through their unconventional but powerful friendship, Steffi comes to realize that she won’t always be stuck and lonely in her town. She can go to music school in Stockholm. She can be a real musician. She can be a jitterbug, just like Alvar.

But how can Steffi convince her parents to let her go to Stockholm to audition? And how it that Steffi’s school, the retirement home, the music, and even Steffi’s worst bully are somehow all connected to Alvar? Can it be that the people least like us are the ones we need to help us tell our own stories?

Sara Lövestam, a writer as well as a huge jazz music fan, lives in Sweden. Wonderful Feels Like This is her first novel to be translated into English.

Laura A. Wideburg was born in Waukegan, Illinois and studied language and Literature at the University of Illinois and the University of Washington, where she received a Ph.D. in historical linguistics and medieval literature. Laura is passionate about the beauty of the Swedish language and Swedish culture in general and returns to visit every year.


“Sensitive and deeply moving: outstanding.”
Kirkus, starred review

“Empathy, identity, and the transformative power of music bind this tale of an atypical friendship between a teenage outcast and a jazz musician.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A coming-of-age tale of a young artist and is as soulful as it is triumphant.”
School Library Journal


Wonderful Feels Like This
Sara Lövestam
Translated from the Swedish by Laura A. Wideburg
2017, Flatiron Books
ISBN: 9781250095237

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s