Wonder By R.J. Palacio A Review

Wonder Book Cover Wonder

Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Alfred A. Knopf
February 14, 2012
Hardcover
315 Pages
Library


I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is such a great book, that it makes me wish that I had a young child to read it to. Wonder begins with the idea that August Pullman is ready to start school. Previously home-schooled because of severe facial deformity and a host of health problems, his mother wants him to start school. Of course the family is not in total agreement about whether he is ready, and August is also unsure, but eventually they decide to do it.

Throughout his first year at school, we learn about August. How he has struggled with people staring at him. How he wants to be treated like everyone else. We learn what his family has gone through to try to give him a normal childhood. Wonder is not a sad story, in which R.J. Palacio wants the reader to feel bad for August. It is ultimately hopeful and full of great lessons.The chapters written from August’s perspective show a kid who has flaws and doesn’t always do the right thing. A kid who is so much more than his disability.

The school year continues to unfold as we have shifting points of view from different people in August’s life. We learn from all of these people how hard friendship and family can be. Most people in August’s life are very likeable and they all felt so real. His sister, for example, feels resentful. There are times when she does not receive the attention she should because her parents are consumed with August. She acts out as teenagers are likely to do. When we get to her perspective, we learn how much more there is to the story. Getting to read about those feelings from multiple points of view is fascinating and really adds so much to the story.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is both funny and sweet, I promise the end will have you blubbering. I highly recommend it as a read along with a pre-teen, there are lots of great lessons about courage, standing up for yourself, and forgiveness. Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a great book and deserving the mountains of praise it receives.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, this sounds wonderful! I rarely read MG books anymore since my son is an older teen now, but this seems like one of those books that is worth the read at any age.
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