The Wonderful is both heartbreaking and poignantly beautiful. Part coming-of-age, part mystery, Saskia Sarginson creates a story that will touch your heart, break it, and then beg you to finish. Based off real-life military experiments that take place in Suffolk, England, Sarginson creates a set of wonderful characters to tell the story.
Hedy, a young tom-boy, moves with her family to a US air force base in Suffolk, England. Hedy is tasked with taking care of her twin brother, Christopher, who is locked in a metal brace to heal his scoliosis. Ruby, Hedy’s mother, struggles to find her way at the new base, while feeling locked in and totally alone. Each character details the battles they each must face, and you get absorbed into their lives.
One traumatic night, Hedy’s whole life changes and her family is gone. She has no one to turn to and is left with a mound of questions. Reading novels that Christopher has written, Hedy begins to piece together the events of that night and the truth behind what happened to her family.
Hedy grows up wondering who her friends are and who are foes. She learns to love, lose, and love again. She is not a character without flaws, but she develops into the best version of herself through the support of friends and her own resilient will. I loved how this story was told not only from Hedy’s view, but also that of Ruby’s and Christopher’s. Every character felt like a living, breathing human that you just wanted to reach out and hug. I think this book would make an excellent book club book. Themes of loss, love, and hopelessness will touch your heart while keeping you on the edge of your seat to uncover the mystery of what really is happening at that military base. Once you get half-way through, you will not be able to put the book down!
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