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by Nicole Helget
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Diversity, Personal Development: Friendship, Social Studies: African American Heritage, Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Science: Biology
Grades: 3 & up
In this captivating quest that spans the globe, a young girl who wants to know everything challenges her assumptions about family, loyalty, and friendship as she fights to save her father’s legacy—and to begin creating her own.
Hallelujah Wonder wants to become one of the first female scientists of the nineteenth century. She knows every specimen and rare artifact that her explorer father hid deep in a cave before he died, and she feels a great responsibility to protect the objects (particularly a mesmerizing and dangerous one called the Medicine Head) from a wicked Navy captain who would use it for evil. Now she and her friend Eustace, a runaway slave, must set out on a sweeping adventure by land and by sea to the only place where no one will ever find the cursed relic….
★ “If ever a girl could make her mark on the world, it is Hallelujah Wonder… Brimming with spirit and gumption, Lu’s first-person narration is marked by her scientific mind and youthful naiveté, much like Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce; and Helget’s creative use of flashbacks and prognostication adds suspense to the tale. Though historical in setting, the questions of faith, science, and humanity raised remain relevant to modern times. With Hallelujah at the helm, Wonder is full-blown adventure tinged with mysticism, intelligence, and the spirit of discovery.”—Booklist
“History, science, adventure and fantasy combine in this tale that carries readers from the plains of Kansas to Antarctica… Pulse-quickening exploits and taut descriptions will keep readers riveted… Set against the growing-pains backdrop of pre-Civil War America, both reflecting and supporting Hallelujah’s coming-of-age story, Helget’s tale celebrates the curiosity and mystery of life.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Helget’s novel teems with historical information, most of which centers around abolition and the whaling industry. Wonder would thus work well as an extension to world history and natural sciences’ units… Lu’s main focus is scientific exploration, and her informative musings will have readers wanting to do scientific research of their own. Even with so much background to incorporate, Helget’s novel includes enough exciting escapes from Greeney and agitated whales to keep the pages turning.”—School Library Journal