A Hero for WondLa



Heroine's humanity anchors stronger sequel.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The story hints at familiar real-world issues, including racism, xenophobia, competition for natural resources, and balancing technology and humanity. The book may inspire conversation about these issues and opportunities to explore their role in human history.

Positive messages

Characters find strength and confidence and learn to trust themselves. The value of kinship, friendship, and home are strong themes. Lessons are learned about evaluating character and standing up for what's right.


Positive role models

Eva Nine is at first relieved to be adopted by a trio of fellow human girls, surrendering herself to their efforts to make her fit in. But she soon realizes she isn't -- and doesn't want to be -- just like everyone else. She remains loyal to proven friends and gradually learns to judge others by their actions. Rovender emerges as the father figure she never had, and Eva learns important lessons from him on evaluating character and standing up for what's right. As she navigates tricky new terrain, she finds strength and confidence by trusting herself and her own developing beliefs about the meaning of kinship, friendship, and home. She's empathetic even when she feels hurt and betrayed.


The human leader is preparing to go to war to reclaim the planet from aliens who colonized it. He leads an attack on Eva and her friends, one of whom sacrifices himself to try to save Eva. Aliens are subject to gruesome experiments, and humans who rebel face procedures designed to make the compliant servants. Eva and her friends are in mortal peril through much of the book. An alien city is destroyed, and its inhabitants are forced to flee.

Not applicable

One instance of "damn," and urban teens use "clone" as a slang insult verb in a way that will sound familiar to readers: "Clone me!" and "Go clone yourself!"

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Two characters get intoxicated. It becomes apparent that Rovender has had a drinking problem, which was hinted at in the earlier book in the series. His drinking is portrayed with sympathy as a problem he has struggled with through deep depression and one he would like to conquer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Hero for WondLa is the second book in a dystopian trilogy by Toni DiTerlizzi that imagines a world dominated by aliens. Those in power subject those without to cruel experimentation and torture, reminiscent of some of the uglier episodes in world history. This futuristic fantasy touches on some meaty themes that parents might enjoy discussing with kids.

What's the story?

Eva Nine, raised in an underground home by a robotic mother, is rescued by the first fellow human she's ever met -- a young pilot named Hailey. He takes her to New Attica, a hidden human city led by Cadmus Pryde, who spearheaded the Human Repopulation Project. Eva is at first enthralled by the high-tech city and its hip citizens, but her growing unease turns to alarm as she discovers just how completely Cadmus controls the human population -- and why. With help from a newfound sister, Eva learns that her friend Rovender and other aliens are suffering through cruel experiments ordered by Cadmus. She frees them and flees the city, with Cadmus and his war machines in pursuit, in a desperate attempt to warn the aliens of Orbona to prepare for battle.

Is it any good?


In this second installment of the WondLa trilogy, author Tony DiTerlizzi dials up the action and adds rich layers of complexity to his futuristic fantasy. Questions about family and friendship take center stage, and the relationship between human Eva and alien Rovender keeps the fantasy grounded.

As in The Search for WondLa, Terlizzi's lovely illustrations do most of the heavy lifting in portraying the curious world of Orbona. His writing isn't especially vivid, but the fast-moving narrative is more absorbing here than in the previous book. Fans of the first book will find A HERO FOR WONDLA a rewarding installment -- readers new to the series will have a hard time catching up. A few illustrations in the book unlock special features on the affiliated website, which also features free downloads and games.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role of technology in New Attica. How is it similar and different from today? Do Emote Attire or implanted Omnipods seem like possible extensions of popular technology today?

  • Eva Nine, eager to belong, willing turns herself over to the Gens for a complete makeover -- but she ultimately chooses a more difficult, solitary path. Talk about pressure to conform and how that can be a source of frustration -- or relief.

  • Do you think this trilogy's online tie-ins, including illustrations that unlock online content and interactive games, enhance the book? 

Book details

Author:Tony DiTerlizzi
Illustrator:Tony DiTerlizzi
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Friendship, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:May 8, 2012
Number of pages:464
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 17

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byflippysnow June 12, 2012

Appropriate for kids

It is definintly age-appropriate for any kid that is able to read it without struggling. I do not know many kids 8 years old that could be able to read it but you never know. Remember this is the second book in the series and is not one of those books where it tells you about what happened.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old July 18, 2012

Absolutely awesome!

It's an amazing book. So exciting to read. I read it in only 4 days and I can't wait to read it again!
Parent Written byMinstrel May 24, 2012

I'm done with the series

I enjoyed the first installment, though admittedly more for the pictures and the excellent character Rovender Kitt. But after reading this, I believe I'm done reading the series. It gets wierd, and the writing is flabby. Also, though he doesn't quite mention this in the guide, there is a swear word (the D-word) as well as picture of Eva Nine naked (though admittedly her arms do cover up a lot.)
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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