By Author / Illustrator
Lauren St John
Faber & Faber
Paperback / softback
A winning ticket. A stolen horse. The adventure of a lifetime . . . Orphaned Roo Thorn feels like the unluckiest girl in the world. Until she discovers a letter. A letter which urges her to 'Grab life by the wings and fly.' With the help of her aunt, Joni, Roo sets out to buy her dream horse - a fiery showjumper named Wonder Boy. Then Wonder vanishes without a trace. Determined to save him, Roo and Joni investigate his disappearance. But as the mystery deepens and more prize horses are stolen, the pair find themselves drawn into a thrilling - but dangerous - adventure . . . How far will they go, and what will they risk, to find Wonder?
'Superb storytelling.' Phil Earle. 'Absolutely brilliant!' Abi Elphinstone. 'Completely enthralling. A masterclass in mystery adventure.' Piers Torday. 'Utterly magnificent.' Judith Eagle. 'Glorious . . . passionate, intricate, totally immersive.' Hilary McKay.
Finding Wonder is a beautifully written, truly gripping mystery story which draws on Lauren St John's love of horses. The front cover and chapter illustrations are stunning and will really add appeal to those that enjoy reading horse stories. The main character Roo is left orphaned when her dad goes to buy what he hopes will be a winning lottery ticket. She is taken in by her aunt who she wasn't that close to and who has a reputation for being a bit unreliable.
Things go from bad to worse when her Aunt Joni loses her boyfriend, job and accommodation. Roo and Joni find themselves on a road trip adventure in Joni's old campervan. Things are looking bleak but in a twist of fate her dad's inheritance saves the day and Roo sets out to follow her ambition of owning the horse of her dreams. However, horses begin to disappear in mysterious circumstances and she and Joni begin to unravel the mystery.
The horse thefts are really daring which makes for an exciting read. The story is really well described and brought to life for the reader while Lauren St John's love of horses shines off of the page. I'd recommend Finding Wonder to anyone that enjoys animal stories, adventure or mystery. Although there is mention of bereavement and a child being placed into the care of her aunt at the beginning of the book, this isn't dwelt upon; Roo is a remarkably positive and resilient character so it is an uplifting story that ends well.
Suggested Reading Age 9+