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Children's Fiction General


by (author) Kyo Maclear

illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2019
General, General, Bullying, Emotions & Feelings, Music
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9
  • Reading age: 10 to 14


A story of friendship, first crushes, opera and the high drama of middle school told by award-winning Kyo Maclear in her debut graphic novel.

Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.

It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. But it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks.

Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?

Key Text Features
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Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).

Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

About the authors

KYO MACLEAR was born in London and grew up in Toronto as the only child of a foreign correspondent. Her father reported on some significant world events, including recording the first interviews with American POWs in North Vietnam. While Stray Love is entirely a work of fiction, it is informed by her experiences living with her father. Her first novel, The Letter Opener (2007), was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artists Award and shortlisted for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Maclear is also an award-winning visual arts writer and the author of two children’s books: Spork (2010) and Virginia Wolf (2012). Visit her online at

Kyo Maclear's profile page

Byron Eggenschwiler is an award-winning illustrator whose recent books include The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt by Riel Nason, Operatic by Kyo Maclear (starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal and Quill & Quire), Coyote Tales by Thomas King and Beastly Puzzles by Rachel Poliquin (starred review from School Library Journal). Byron’s work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Walrus, GQ and O, The Oprah Magazine. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Byron Eggenschwiler's profile page


  • Short-listed, Joe Shuster Award — The Dragon Award
  • Nominated, Black-Eyed Susan Book Award — Graphic Novels, Grades 6-9
  • Short-listed, Red Maple Award
  • Commended, The List, Toronto Public Library
  • Commended, Quill & Quire Books of the Year for Kids
  • Short-listed, Cybils Award for Elementary/ Middle Grade Graphic Novels

Editorial Reviews

Packed with music references and evocative illustrations, Operatic is a graphic novel that students will easily relate to and identify with.

Vancouver Writers Fest

Brimming with raw emotion, music references, and gorgeous art, this memorable and relatable graphic novel will linger with readers.

School Library Journal

Opera is an unusual but pitch-perfect match for that swell of overwhelming feeling, and Maclear.


Operatic offers a deft look at adolescence, rich but subtle, accessible but beautifully complex. . . . Maclear has created a setting and a cast of characters that feel extraordinarily fresh, alive, and, above all, very real. . . . Eggenschwiler’s visual metaphors create their own network of social, emotional, and sensory connections. . . . This book will delight not only young people and graphic-novel aficionados but anyone who believes that art — especially opera — is a powerful force in the world.

Quill & Quire

Maclear and Eggenschwiler cleverly weave together story, visual art, and music. . . . Clever and contemplative, with music history readers might find unexpectedly fun.

Kirkus Reviews

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