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Excerpt from Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lovestam, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Wonderful Feels Like This

by Sara Lovestam

Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lovestam X
Wonderful Feels Like This by Sara Lovestam
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2018, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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Instead she takes out her bass. Last week she'd taken "A Happy Blues" to her bass teacher, who hemmed and hawed at it doubtfully. He'd explained that a walking bass line goes from one note to another through three notes you choose yourself. Then they practiced it together for a while, but it never sounded right. She has seen through him already. All he really wants to do is teach classical guitar and sing Bellman songs. It's easier when she's alone. She goes from A to D a few times, testing different notes, grimacing when it sounds off, repeats. Nods her head to the rhythm when she gets going, ups the volume.

Finally, she puts on "A Happy Blues" again. She ignores the bass player on the record and does her own thing between the downbeats. It sounds passable, but nowhere near Povel's bassist. After eight measures, she gives up, stops playing, and falls backward onto her bed, her bass on her stomach. Listens to the rest of the song. Slaps away The Place's nasty comments just like a mosquito, gets on with her own show. Becomes happy jazz.

CHAPTER 2

Their project is supposed to explore some aspect of social or natural sciences in depth.

"They did a fashion show last year!" Karro protests. She rolls her eyes and looks around for affirmation. She's wearing well-applied eye makeup.

"That's why this year, we decided to change the guidelines," Bengt explains. "This is practice for gymnasium, when you'll have to study on your own. Take advantage of it!"

Karro rolls her eyes. Steffi can't stand Karro, but on this point she has to agree. She'd hoped to record some of her music.

"You can choose to do a project on your own or in pairs," Bengt continues. "Those who decide to work in pairs must give me a plan of who will be responsible for each part of the project."

The girls immediately reach out their hands to pair off like invisible magnets—Steffi is left out, as if she has as much magnetism as a block of wood.

"Project outlines will be due next week. More detailed information is on our class page, and part of your work is to understand the instructions and follow them. Any questions?"

Victor raises his hand. "Is there going to be a test?"

Some giggles break out.

Bengt remains calm. "Everything is on our class page. You will be required to prepare a written report with a summary, a table of contents, and a bibliography, as well as do an oral presentation during class."

As they all file through the classroom door, Steffi finds herself next to Sanja. Karro gasps theatrically as she grabs Sanja and pulls her away. "Watch out for Steffi!"

Sanja snickers and then sighs hugely in relief. "I didn't see her!"

"You'll have to wash your clothes in bleach, you know, if you get too close."

Sanja giggles at the laundry advice as Steffi rushes off, breathing hard and trying to distract herself by thinking of what subject to choose for her project. But the lump in her throat gets in her way. She knows her face has turned bright red and her eyes have filled with tears that will brim over if somebody talks to her. She slinks into the bathroom.

Surprisingly, her reflection in the mirror is not quite as ugly as she'd imagined. She meets her own eyes, pushes her hair behind her ears, and tries to smile. She will never show them that they'd made her cry, never. She can picture their snickering and their pointing fingers: the slut's crying! Never!

She flushes the toilet before she leaves.

*   *   *

She walks home with Povel Ramel on her mp3 player. The familiar notes open up that other world, where Karro is nothing more than Povel Ramel's wilted kangaroo vine—useless in every way.

The headphones are warm on her ears and she walks in time with the music. "Wow, How Lively the Band Swings!" gives her feet a beat that swings as the bass slides into the closest Povel ever came to reggae. Next comes "Look, It's Snowing," and she hears the intro even before it starts. Her footsteps are lighter, strutting. She moves her lips in Povel's lightning fast patter: "Look, it's snowing, fireside glowing, flakes are whirling, everybody's stirring.…"

Copyright © 2013 by Sara Lövestam. Translation copyright © 2017 by Laura A

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