Book Review: The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

Wondla1Book Title/Author: The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi
Publisher/Year: September 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published September 2009)
Genre: Fantasy, Science fiction, Children’s – Middle Grade, Dystopian
Series: Book #1 of ‘WondLa’ series
Format: Hardcover
Source: Owned


“Eva Nine is a curious and sensitive twelve-year-old who has existed only in a subterranean home called Sanctuary, cared for by a robot named Muthr. Eva’s great desire is to go aboveground, and her wish comes true, though not as she had imagined. On the surface, Eva goes in search of other humans–she has never met one–and soon meets both friend and foe.” (Goodreads)




The Search for WondLa is perfect for readers ages 8 to 13 and is a good introduction to the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres.

This children’s dystopian novel is about a 12-year-old girl named Eva who has raised in an underground bunker by a motherly robot and has never been in contact with other humans. Eva is suddenly forced to run from her home and from the only family she’s known, the robot, and flees to the surface. The world above her underground home is foreign to her and there are many different alien species on the planet. She then begins her quest to find other humans and learns lessons about herself, making new friends, and the new world around her.

If you’re a parent and thinking about buying this for your kid(s), know that there are brief scenes where: an animal is killed for food, an alien is killed and its organs preserved for display in a museum, and a major character dies — sounds more gruesome when I write it out like that, but it’s not an inaccurate summary. I still think it appropriate for children 8+.

What I liked most about The Search for WondLa is that it teaches important lessons about technology, independence, and friendship. Without giving away any spoilers I will give one technology-lesson example: Eva’s motherly robot tells her that the first rule of survival is to trust always technology, but Eva quickly learns that technology is not always accurate and reliable. She needs to use her own instinct and judgment to navigate her strange world. I think that this is an important lesson for kids today because it teaches them that what you read on the internet, tablet or smartphone may not always be an accurate or a reliable source, sometimes you’re better off if you think things through for yourself and trusting your gut.

Another great part of this book that cannot go unmentioned is the illustrations, which are by the author as well. I thought that was pretty neat because we are seeing exactly what the author envisioned and not someone else’s interpretation of what they’d read. Here are a few of the illustrations in the book:

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I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series and I think that The Search for WondLa would make a great movie.


“The folly of humankind is that it believes it is impervious to decay””The real question one should ask when presented with a puzzle is, ‘Should I solve it? Do I really need to know the answer?”

“The real question one should ask when presented with a puzzle is, ‘Should I solve it? Do I really need to know the answer?”

“No living thing is insignificant.”

“Despite what you hear and say there will always be that one voice that will always be true to you.”



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