Finding Wonder by Lauren St John
|Finding Wonder by Lauren St John|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Not just for those who live from one gymkhana to the next, this is packed with mystery, adventure and fun.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: September 2023|
|Publisher: Faber & Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
Roo's life has become almost impossibly difficult. Her mum died when she was young, and now she finds herself awoken in the middle of the night by the police banging on her door to tell her that her dad has dropped dead on his way to the corner shop to buy a lottery ticket. When asked what other family she has, she can only name her aunt, Joni, who she knows her dad didn't think very highly of. But she has no one else, and so off she goes to live with her unreliable aunt. Things continue to get worse for Roo, as when she and Joni leave London in Joni's old campervan, it breaks down in the middle of nowhere and then bursts into flames! Poor Roo!
The one, bright moment comes when Roo discovers that her dad had won the lottery, and so whilst she has lost almost everything in her life, she and Joni are not completely destitute, and even have the opportunity to perhaps make some of Roo's wildest dreams come true, like buying Roo her very own horse. But just hours after viewing and putting a deposit on her dream horse, Wonder, he is stolen! Who has taken Wonder, and why?
I would have devoured this as a girl, as I was totally horse-mad. I entered the 'win a pony' competition faithfully every year in the Horse and Pony magazine…not that I actually had anywhere to keep a pony! And I read and re-read Ruby Ferguson's Jill books until the covers fell off. But what's rather charming about this story is that it won't just satisfy the horse fans, as it's also a good mystery adventure story too, with interesting characters, exciting chases, and evil villains!
Even with the pie in the sky lottery win of a storyline, it feels believable somehow. It's told with compassion, and you really feel dreadful for Roo at the start of the book, wondering how things can ever possibly improve for her. I was caught up in her story immediately (perhaps helped as my mum always called me Roo when I was little!) and fully invested in what would happen to her. But I enjoyed the other characters we meet along the way too, and there's a wide range as Roo and her aunt go travelling during their investigations to try to find out who the horse thief is. There's lots of puzzling out as you're wondering who the baddies can be, and exactly how the thefts are taking place.
Then of course there are the horses. There are a range of different horses to fall in love with and imagine you might one day ride. I wasn't sure Wonder was my favourite horse, to be honest, and found I had a soft spot for a lovely roan called Drifter who saves Roo in a tricky situation. But whether your dream horse is a show jumper or a race horse, there are a few we get to meet.
It gets very exciting at the climax of the book, with a definite sense that Roo is genuinely in danger, but don't worry - it's a grand and happy ending! So, a great story for anyone who is interested in animals and likes a good adventure, but an extra treat if riding a horse bareback on the beach is top of your bucket list of things to do!
You can read more book reviews or buy Finding Wonder by Lauren St John at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Finding Wonder by Lauren St John at Amazon.com.
Check prices, read reviews or buy from Foyles. Foyles currently charges £2.99 (first class £3.99) for orders under £25, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Foyles bookshop at no charge.
Check prices, read reviews or buy from Waterstones. Waterstones currently charges from £2.75 for orders under £20, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Waterstones bookshop at no charge.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.