Review: The Search for WondLa (WondLa #1) by Tony DiTerlizzi

Title:  The Search for WondLa
Author:  Tony DiTerlizzi
Series:  WondLa #1
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication Date:  September 21, 2009
Pages:  466
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  Middle Grade/Science Fiction, Fantasy

When a marauder destroys the underground sanctuary that Eva Nine was raised in by the robot Muthr, the twelve-year-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her: She knows that other humans exist because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.”

Breathtaking two-color illustrations throughout display another dimension of the tale, and readers with webcams can also view Augmented Reality that reveals additional information about Eva Nine’s world. Tony DiTerlizzi honors traditional children’s literature in this totally original space-age adventure—one that is as complex as an alien planet, but as simple as a child’s wish for a place to belong. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Please Excuse Me While I Fangirl…

I heard about The Search for WondLa years ago, and when I saw the artwork and heard the synopsis, I knew I had to read it.  So it went onto my TBR shelf on Goodreads, and there it stayed, because it was a Middle Grade book, and every time I’d go to the bookstore, I didn’t even think about straying from the YA section.  But one day I finally saw it and bought it, and then it was a while before I actually read it, but I’m so glad I finally did.

The Search for WondLa is definitely a Middle Grade book, but as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The illustrations are beautiful, the story is full of action and suspense, villains and extremely loyal friends, and twists and turns that made me turn into a crazy fangirl.

I mean, seriously, you guys, this book has one of my favorite endings of ALL TIME.  I just, I just can’t even.  And that’s saying something, because even though I say OMG and fangirl a lot, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to the point where I’ve said “I can’t even.”  The Search for WondLa is a book that I want everyone to read, just so I can fangirl with people about it, especially about the ending.  And yet, I know that it is one of those books that is totally ME, so not everyone will really like it like I do, but I still just want to shove a copy into everyone’s hands.

I loved all the characters, especially Otto.  I loved how all the creatures were similar to underwater creatures, yet they were on land. I loved the relationships between all the characters, and the bonds that continued to grow as the story progressed.  Eva Nine does not have a human family, but the mishmash of creatures that she finds herself with in this journey become her family, and I loved seeing their camaraderie.  And that ending, you guys, I can not get over that fantastic ending.  Sure, it’s been done before, but it’s just SO GOOD of an ending that I LOVE IT.

Bonus Points…

Tony DiTerlizzi gets some of my bonus points for the following reasons:

  • Tony DiTerlizzi was the illustrator of all those beautiful drawings as well as the author!  = 50,000 points
  • Not only was there a map in the back of the book, but you can also go online and find an interactive map for the book!  = 100,000 points (50,000 for regular map and 50,000 for interactive map)
  • The sand-snipers were like giant praying mantises (I LOVE praying mantises) = 50,000 points
  • That magical, awesome, fantabulous part at the end. = 1,000,000,000 points
My rating for The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi, in case you couldn’t already guess:
5 humongous stars, and it has become one of my favorites.  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.  I need it NOW!
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster
You may also enjoy:  Leviathan │ Inside Out
Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.


  1. Brandi Kosiner

    April 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    The illustration and well done action sounds great.

  2. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    May 1, 2014 at 11:44 am

    This sounds like it'd make a fantastic Readathon book! Plus, you have me so curious about the ending!

  3. Cate Harris

    September 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I so enjoyed your review :) This book sounds amazing so hopped on Amazon right away to purchase it!

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