Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Published: 2012

Publisher: Knopf

Copy: Library

Pages: 315

Summary: Goodreads

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?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

This is a junior level book – it’s shelved as such in our library. Our main character (as you can see) is in grade 5. None of that matters – this is a great read (and almost a must-read) for everyone of all ages. Told in a variety of view points, our story centres around Auggie – a boy with a face that stands out.

In YA, we read a lot about the stunningly beautiful; or those who are downplaying their stunning beauty. But it’s seldom you get a story that talks openly about the cause and effect of having someone such as Auggie in your life. What’s it like to be him, his sister or his conflicted classmates? Wonder tells us.

His facial deformity (it’s the easiest term to use – I mean no offence by it), has kept Auggie in and out of hospitals, and out of schools, his whole life. Normally homeschooled, he joins the masses and of course, a little mayhem follows. People aren’t sure how to react, and Auggie isn’t quite sure how to fit in – kids tease him behind his back, but try to be friendly. Auggie doesn’t know how to take this – he has some trust issues and struggles with acceptance that isn’t pity – but all the characters grow in a beautiful way. It’s great to see the perspective of his friends and family – not only do we get to see how Auggie feels, but we also get to see the inner dialogue of people whom like most of us, are sometimes not quite sure how to act when presented with a person who has a condition similar to Auggie.

At times you’re irritated with Auggie himself, other times your sympathetic and angry at how people treat him. Other times, you’re full of joy to watch a boy flourish despite all odds, and see a family that seems just as crazy as yours, but loves each other more than anything. All the bases are covered. This is a wonderful, realistic, and touching tale.


  1. I wondered about this one, I'm happy to find out that it was a bit young for my interests.

    Mei @ Diary of a Fair Weather Diver

    1. It does run a little young, but if you have time for it, definitely worth while. It's one of those few books that I think translates well across ages (and because it's geared towards a younger age group, it's also a quick read!). If this book doesn't pick up a handful of awards over the next year, I'll be surprised.