WonderWonder by Travis Thrasher
Series: Books of Marvella
Genres: Drama, Suspense, Teen
Published by Tyndale on January 2, 2015
Pages: 320
Also by this author: A Robertson Family Christmas


Brandon Jeffery’s life is a little bit better now that Marvel is in it. But just because life is better, doesn’t mean it’s great. His father is still drinking, his friend Devon is still making stupid decisions, his awkward friendship with Seth is still awkward, and the town of Appleton is still feeling uneasy after two unsolved summer murders. However, despite the tension and drama in his life, Brandon enjoys his time with Marvel and their relationship continues to grow. Unfortunately, as with all things in Brandon’s life, the peace is short lived and soon he finds himself wrestling with not only high school bullies and Marvel’s malicious uncle, but also the demons within. In the second installment of the Books of Marvella series, Wonder is high on drama and turmoil, but a little short on plot.

Wonder has a healthy dose of teenage romance and drama.

I loved Marvelous, the first book in this series, and flew through it. The characters were great, the story interesting, and pacing spot on. Needlessly to say, I was really looking forward to this second book, Wonder. While the characters are still great and the underlining story is quite interesting, the pacing is unbalanced causing the early part of this story to feel sluggish.

There are a couple of elements in teen fiction that usually causes me problems. First is a teenage romance and second is teenage drama. Wonder has both, especially early on. It was pretty obvious in Marvelous that there would be some romance between Brandon and Marvel. Unfortunately, too much of Wonder is spent developing their relationship, specifically the romantic side. Some of the events are cute and even charming, but others just slow the story to a halt. Additionally, given their personalities and what was established in the first book, it seems like the attention given to their romance in this one is more filler than actual substance.

Along with teen romance, often comes teen drama. In this case, the drama is not so much in the romance though, but rather in the other events surrounding Brandon and Marvel. Much of the drama created is by kids being teenagers and acting like teenagers, but other drama come from the adults. I like that Travis includes a wide range of troubled adults that cause issues in their kid’s lives in a multitude of ways. However, I long for the responsible adult that the teenagers in this book will trust. The groundwork is laid for Harry and/or Phil to be this adult. Unfortunately, their roles remain small and therefore the story remains unbalanced.

The characters are really stunning with Marvel stealing every scene she’s in.

As with the first book in the series, there are some excellent spiritual themes. Marvel is a wonderfully balanced character that lets the reader see the ups and downs of a Christian walk. She voices her doubts while remaining awed by the wonder of God. Though the story is told from Brandon’s point of view, when Marvel enters a scene, she steals the show. Without a doubt she is the high point in this series and through her the reader gets to experience God in a beautiful way.

This book lays a lot of groundwork, setting up the rest of the series.

When this series ends, I’ll most likely appreciate Wonder more. This does seem to be a staging book and many pieces of the overarching story are moved into place. However, it would have been nice to have more balance between relationship building and plot development in this book. Regardless, I’m still looking forward to seeing how this all turns out!

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