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An Ordinary Wonder

An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon

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By Buki Papillon

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1 review

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An Ordinary Wonder is a story of the courage needed to be yourself.

When fourteen-year-old Oto starts at a boarding school and falls in love with his roommate, fear of shame forces him to hide his love and true self.

Back home, weighed down by the expectations of their wealthy and powerful family, the love of Oto’s twin sister wavers, causing Oto to make drastic choices that will alter the family’s lives for ever.

Richly imagined with art and folk tales, this moving and modern novel follows Oto through life at home and at boarding school in Nigeria, through the heartbreak of living as a boy despite their profound belief they are a girl, and through a hunger for freedom that only a new life in the United States can offer.

An Ordinary Wonder is a powerful coming-of-age story that explores complex desires as well as challenges of family, identity, gender and culture, and what it means to feel whole.


20 Feb 2021


A really great book that's honest, informative, heart-rendingly sad, happy, hopeless and hopeful. I learned such a lot from reading it as well as being gripped by, and enjoying, the story. I found the first part, where we get to know the characters and their circumstances, to be very well written, gritty and believable. The middle part is especially heartbreaking but in the final part I felt less convinced by the way things were working out. I loved the Nigerian mythology and folk tales that are woven into the story and enjoyed the Yoruba proverbs peppered throughout. Lots in there for a reading group to get grips with.

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