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


Oto leaves for boarding school with one plan: excel and escape his cruel home. Falling in love with his roommate was certainly not on the agenda, but fear and shame force 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 and, as their world begins to crumble around them, Oto must make drastic choices that will alter the family’s lives for ever.

Richly imagined with art, proverbs 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.

Reviews

Papillon draws on African mythology and art to create a rich, moving and uplifting story
Stylist
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
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
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
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
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
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
Entirely unique. In the face of prejudice and ignorance, An Ordinary Wonder sparkles with hope, insight, and humour
Abigail Dean