Book Review: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick
Publication Date: Date
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Summary: Set fifty years apart, two independent stories—Ben’s told in words and Rose’s in pictures—weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.

Ever since his mom died, Ben feels lost.
At home with her father, Rose feels alone.

He is searching for someone, but he is not sure who.
She is searching for something, but she is not sure what.

When Ben finds a mysterious clue hidden in his mom’s room,
When a tempting opportunity presents itself to Rose

Both children risk everything to find what’s missing.

With over 460 pages of original drawings and playing with the form he invented in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey. Rich, complex, affecting and beautiful, Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.

Review Overview:

  • Full of beautiful and historically accurate drawings
  • Made me cry! The story is incredibly touching.
  • Selznick is a genius. Wonderstruck is a masterpiece. Buy this.

Don’t let the page count fool you. Despite being a monstrous book, WONDERSTRUCK is an incredibly fast-paced read that will take you through two unforgettable journeys. WONDERSTRUCK is a beautiful novel told in alternating perspectives: Ben’s is told in print while Rose’s is told in stunning black and white drawings.

I had no idea who Brian Selznick was prior to reading this book. I’ve heard of Hugo Cabret but it’s not something that I would usually pick up. I heard there was a movie in the works, but I hadn’t seen the trailer until months after I picked up this ARC at BEA. My knowledge of the author and his previous work was limited to the reviews printed on the back of the ARC. I flipped through the book and saw the epic amount of pictures inside. A review compared Hugo Cabret to reading a silent film. From the first five pages alone, they couldn’t have been more right.

Selznick is a great writer, but he’s an even better illustrator. The drawings just worked so well for Rose’s story. The illustrations told so much but also so little at the same time. I felt like I read this book so quickly, but if I could go back and read it again, I would pay even more attention to the little details of each drawing. It’s so hard to describe just how visually stimulating this book is unless you actually have the book in your hands. I love all the research that Selznick conducted to make sure that his drawings of all the different places in New York City were as historically accurate as possible. This was a fantastic idea that couldn’t have been executed any better.

I loved the alternating perspectives of Rose and Ben. Though they seem like two completely irrelevant stories, they aren’t I love how they parallel each other throughout the novel. I’m a sucker for novels set in New York City and I thought it was really cool to see the Museum of Natural History earlier in time.

And guys, I cried. WONDERSTRUCK is not a depressing story; it was so touching. The tears literally came out of nowhere. Just the sudden turn of events at the novel’s climax just triggered something in me, and the next thing I knew, I was holding back tears. And I was in public!

This was such a fantastic book and I am so lucky to have picked it up at BEA. I cannot wait to read more of Selznick’s work. He’s a genius.

About the Author

Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. He was born in 1966 in New Jersey. He has a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. Selznick studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after he graduated from college he worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City.

Find the Author

Website | GoodReads


  1. I like the idea of a novel containing visually stimulating illustrations. Just the fact that you chose to highlight such a feature would probably draw me to this novel as a reader. Also your reference to “And I was in public!” was a great way to spark my curiosity. I love to actually experience emotions when reading a book, and this would definitely be something that would draw me to it.

  2. 460 pages seems a little daunting, but visual images definitely make it easier to get through. Nice review, I love the format that you have set up for this and I’m looking forward to more.

  3. Wonderstruck sounds amazing! I’m so glad to hear it was a fantastic read! I love the fact that the drawings were well done, too. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Thanks for the review, Cialina! :)

    1. Your review of Wonderstruck makes me want to get my hands on the book. 450pages is not bad as long as its a good read and judging by your review it really is. You said you cried while reading it, and I love books that get you so emotional and touch you. I will def be reading this book whenever I can, thanks for the review!

  4. Your blog is so legit that it makes my blog look like roadkill that has been sitting around since the dawn of the internet. It is very impressive and looks super professional. You definitely do a great job of making me feel embarrassed for not reading enough. Awesome job!

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