R. J. Palacio
March 1st 2012
Random House Children's' Books
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 book, people! This. Book. It is really very, very good. And this is coming from someone who, as a rule, generally doesn't like MG and, well, these kinds of books. Turns out I was very wrong about my taste, as I so often am. Because I really just wanted to hug everyone in this book after I finished it. It kind of opened my eyes to how mean some kids can be, and how, just because someone looks different, it doesn't mean that they are. A 'don't judge a book by its cover' kind of thing. (Only not the books actual cover because I love the cover of this book. But people, in general. Don't judge people by how they look.)
I really liked the way the story was told. I think, in total, there was six different perspectives, which I know at first sounds a bit confusing, but they're all in different parts. They have a part of the book each which made it a lot easier to get to know each of the characters both through their own eyes and through others. I think it really helped to show how Auggie had affected everyone, and just to see the story through their eyes as well as Auggie's. I really don't think I'd have liked it as much as I did if it wasn't for this aspect.
Don't get me wrong, I liked Auggie and I thought he was pretty great. But I couldn't relate to him that much. And not because of his face or anything, but because he was a ten year old boy and I am, if you hadn't noticed all ready, not. But I do think he was really very normal and easy to like and if some of the other kids in the story (Julian!) had bothered to get to know him instead of disliking purely on an aesthetic basis then they really would've liked him.
I think, though, my favourite characters to read were Jack and Olivia. And yeah, Jack may have been a ten year old boy too, but it was really lovely to see how he was such a nice kid to pretty much everyone. It was really nice reading about how he got to know Auggie and how he didn't really care that much about his face. After getting used to it, it was like there wasn't anything different about him at all. Jack had the right attitude about things. And Via was the most relatable for me, because if I had been brought up like that, then I think I would've been like her too. And I liked how she rarely let it get her down, because she loves her brother, and you could really see that they had a strong sibling relationship even though they fought a few times (which is perfectly normal and I probably wouldn't have bought their relationship otherwise.)
A lot of the other kids annoyed me at first, because they just kind of refused to see past Auggie's face and took it as an excuse to be mean to him. How do those kinds of people get by, seriously? And they're all the kinds of kids (I say all, there's about three...) who act like suck-ups in front of the teachers and act like they're all perfect when they're just mean, and sly, and cruel. And don't say it's because they're kids because they know what they were doing. It made me laugh though, in Jack's chapter, when the principal and Julian's and Jack's parents were emailing each other about Auggie having been accepted into the school after an incident involving Jack and Julian, and the principal ever so subtly burned Julian's mother. Not literally, but you get what I mean.
I was kind of surprised when the book didn't make me cry as much as I thought it would. Everyone kept on telling me to have a box of tissues ready, but the parts where the other kids were being cruel to Auggie didn't make me sad, they made me angry. And that part at the end (kind of) in the woods made me love everyone who stuck up for him but it didn't make me cry though. There was one part though. And I won't say it because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I'll just say that it was not really to do with Auggie, and it made me cry. A lot. I think those of you who've read the book will know what I'm talking about. But I think a lot of the time, because the chapters were so short (which I liked. It felt right for the book) that even when there was a sad bit, it moved on quite fast so it gave you time to get over it.
Wonder is truly a wondrous book about a lovely, normal boy, and how he reaches acceptance in middle school, and I dare you not to be charmed by it and all of the great characters within.