An Ordinary Wonder
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An Ordinary Wonder : Heartbreaking and charming coming-of-age fiction about love, loss and taking chances

4.29 (396 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 
4.29 (396 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'OMG!!! This has to be my best book of the year!... Made me laugh and it made me cry!... So heartbreaking but inspiring at the same time. Loved it!' Goodreads Reviewer

A powerful novel about an intersex Nigerian teenager and the courage to be yourself.

Raised as a boy in a grand but unhappy family in Nigeria, Otolorin Akinro escapes to boarding school knowing two things: she is truly a girl, and to stay safe, she must hide that truth.

Away from the cruelty of her childhood home, Oto blooms even as she strives to be the best boy she can, finding true friendship and working hard to earn a scholarship to an American university, hoping someone out there might help her understand the secrets her body holds.

But she cannot stay away forever. Back home for the holidays, though Oto and her beloved twin sister are overjoyed to see each other, their mother's violence erupts once more and when a terrible incident rips their lives apart, Oto is left alone.

As her world goes up in flames, can Otolorin rebuild a life from the ashes of her true self?

An Ordinary Wonder is an utterly gripping, heartbreaking and uplifting coming-of-age story about family, identity, gender and culture and discovering your whole, true self. If you loved The Vanishing Half, The Girl with the Louding Voice or The Death of Vivek Oji, you'll adore this moving book.

What readers are saying about An Ordinary Wonder:

'WOW!!!! I absolutely LOVED this book... A powerful, engrossing, sad, but also joyous book. I could not stop listening and reading once I started it.' Goodreads Reviewer

'This story was so sad!!!... Just broke my heart.' Goodreads Reviewer

'One of the best, most beautiful and most incredible books I've ever read in my entire life.' Goodreads Reviewer

'I thought I was going to make it all the way through to end of this book without crying. Turns out, I was very wrong... After the tears, you're cheering with the characters all the way to the end.' Goodreads Reviewer

'Wow! This book is so totally awesome!... An amazing story.' Goodreads Reviewer

'Moved me to tears but also filled me with hope. An emotional, heartbreaking read, with a plot that kept me gripped and stunning writing. I'm still thinking about this book months after reading it.' Goodreads Reviewer

'Brilliant... The tension builds up and honestly the author squeezed every emotion out of me!' Reader review
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 160 x 238 x 32mm | 580g
  • Dialogue Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0349701261
  • 9780349701264
  • 731,123

Review Text

This brilliant and ultimately uplifting debut antidotes the hard realities of gender-based violence, secrecy and family estrangement with the transformative forces of Yoruba spirituality, intergenerational nurturing and queer forms of kinship. From all that's foreclosed emerges a story of hope and optimism towards possible futures. Utterly stunning
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Review quote

An Ordinary Wonder is a spellbinding tale that prompts deep reflection around concepts of gender and identity. Buki Papillion's writing has a vivid beauty that kept me enthralled throughout -- Angela Chadwick Beautifully and delicately written, I felt a range of emotions while reading it. Papillon is a scintillating storyteller. We need more stories like this! -- Elizabeth Okoh This brilliant and ultimately uplifting debut antidotes the hard realities of gender-based violence, secrecy and family estrangement with the transformative forces of Yoruba spirituality, intergenerational nurturing and queer forms of kinship. From all that's foreclosed emerges a story of hope and optimism towards possible futures. Utterly stunning -- Isabel Waidner Papillon draws on African mythology and art to create a rich, moving and uplifting story * Stylist * An Ordinary Wonder blew me away with its tender portrait of innocence, vulnerability and strength. Deftly, wisely, Papillon weaves together strands of history and identity which are too often separated. An Ordinary Wonder is nothing short of wonderful and anything but ordinary -- Okechukwu Nzelu author of The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney An Ordinary Wonder is a profoundly moving book, all the more so for featuring an unforgettable protagonist in Otolorin, who will captivate readers with her hope, humour and joy of life. Being in Otolorin's company is never less than uplifting. Buki Papillon's writing is wonderfully vivid, and she treats all her characters - even the villains in Otolorin's family - with astonishing empathy -- Elodie Harper Entirely unique. In the face of prejudice and ignorance, An Ordinary Wonder sparkles with hope, insight, and humour -- Abigail Dean Highlights the limiting dangers of the gender binary, while also reminding us of the power storytelling has to help us envision a more expansive and inclusive world. * New York Times * A captivating queer coming of age story...[an] important one; there aren't many stories like Otolorin's in bookstores right now * Refinery29 * Delicate, emotional and beautiful... One you won't be able to put down * News 24 * A terrific coming-of-age story exploring complex desires as well as what it means to feel whole * YNaija Books of the Year *
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About Buki Papillon

Buki Papillon was born in Nigeria, the oldest of six. After studying law at Hull University in the UK, she completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An Ordinary Wonder, her debut novel, has received glowing reviews and mentions in the The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, Essence and Cosmopolitan UK, and is brilliantly narrated in audiobook by Bridgerton actor, Adjoa Andoh.

Buki has received several fellowships and awards for her writing and is an alumnus of Key West Literary, Vermont Studio Center and Vona Voices residencies and workshops. Her work was published in Post Road Magazine and The Del Sol Review. She has in the past been a travel adviser, events host and chef. Buki currently lives in Boston, where she is resigned to finding inspiration in the long winters.
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Rating details

396 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 44% (175)
4 41% (164)
3 14% (54)
2 1% (2)
1 0% (1)
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