Title: The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn
Author: Kate Gordon
Genre: Magical Realism
Published: 1st September 2020
Synopsis: Lonely orphan Wonder Quinn lives in the attic of Direleafe Hall with only a gloomy crow for company. Every year she hopes to make a true friend and every year her heart breaks when she doesn’t.
But when a spirited new student, Mabel Clattersham, befriends her in class, Wonder’s dreams seem to be coming true. As the girls grow closer, Wonder discovers her friend has a list of strange wishes: Throw a pie, leap into the sky, break someone’s heart…
What is Mabel’s big secret? Can Wonder protect her heart from being broken all over again?
The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn is an enchanting tale celebrating friendship, bravery and the importance of staying true to yourself.
Wonder Quinn lives in the attic of Direleafe Hall with a crow, Hollowbeak. She’s not seen by anyone, not until the new girl, Mabel Clattersham arrives, and becomes her friend as they sit in class. Both girls agree to complete a list of dreams Mabel has as their friendship grows – yet Wonder still wants to know more about Mabel, and as time goes on, begins to notice that Mabel is absent at times, that something is not quite right. Wonder has had her heartbroken before – and she’ll do anything to stop it being broken again.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while as I’ve spent the past two years reading a lot of books for review and working on promoting COVID books – and unfortunately, there were a few that despite all my best attempts, I did not get to when I wanted to. So I am playing some catch up in 2021, and getting to as many as I can in between all the reading for publishers and my work as a quiz writer.
Wonder Quinn is a book with lots of heart and spirit and is one that shows the quiet kids have a lot more to offer than society thinks. It shows that people like Wonder and Mabel have their own way of doing things, and show that it is okay, as their beautifully heartbreaking friendship blossoms on the page and within the corridors of Direleafe Hall. Direleafe Hall feels like one of those places where anything can happen – and where what you think you know isn’t necessarily true – there are things going on that feel very mystical and magical with an ethereal feel to them that encapsulates the very spirit of this book, and the core idea of friendship and bravery – and the revelations that can lead to you discovering who you truly are in this world.
This book made me smile and cry in its beautiful simplicity to explore the gently heartbreaking friendship of Wonder and Mabel – where secrets always seem to live, yet in many ways, I felt like Mabel and Wonder understood each other without having to reveal too many secrets about themselves to each other, and Kate allowed these aspects of the characters to play out on the page through the actions of the characters, leading to an ending that I did not see coming, and where hope and heartbreak were united. Readers aged seven and older will enjoy this book.