Finding Wonder

Eleven-year-old girl Roo Thorn is negotiating everyday life around her troubled, often absent father. Within the opening pages, Roo is left alone in the world following the death of her dad and entrusted to the care of an aunt she hardly knows called Joni. Together they embrace advice to ‘grab life by the wings and fly’, pursuing Roo’s love of horses, Joni’s passion for travel and their shared interest in solving a mysterious horse disappearance.

St John’s fast-pace will rivet readers to the page and the central relationships unfold beautifully as Roo and Joni get to know each other and form a connection. The pages sing with energy for travel and adventure, and it’s clear the author delights in both. There is a deep appreciation of nature throughout the book. St John calls out racism with conviction and depicts the challenges of Roo’s upbringing with sensitivity.

However, there may have been a missed opportunity considering the author’s skills, to develop a more nuanced ‘baddie’ than the one-dimensional character who was finally revealed. It seems disappointing that a jackpot lotto win is what ultimately propels Roo and Jon’’s dreams into reality rather than the much stronger themes of courage, resilience and inclusion which shine so brightly – but it is after all a fantasy adventure. These observations don’t take away from the enjoyment of the story, which is sure to enthral readers to the last page.

Book Cover - Finding Wonder
Publication Date
September 2023