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An Ordinary Wonder

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349701271

Price: £8.99

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘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


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
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
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