Author: R. J. Palacio
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Genre: Contemporary, Childrens, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: 1st March 2012 by Random House Australia
Format Read: Paperback, 310 pages
Synopsis: “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.” (Taken from Goodreads)
Auggie Pullman is a child with a rare facial deformity that has prevented him from attending school until now. Aside from his face, Auggie is just another normal kid but most people can’t seem to look past his unusual deformity. This story is a beautiful exploration of what it feels like to grow up knowing you’re different on the outside, but that you’re just another human being on the inside.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the fifth grade, but Palacio’s portrayal of the ten year-olds within the story felt realistic to me. All his characters has their own unique voice, and their reactions to Auggie seemed like genuine reactions that kids of that age would have if they ever met someone like Auggie. I felt like I was by Auggie’s side throughout his story, during his ups and downs, and egging him on to succeed. He is such a strong child, especially at ten, and you can’t help but feel proud of him for how much he grows throughout the novel.
It’s painful to read about bullying, especially by children so young. And it’s especially hard to read about overly privileged adults that stoop to the level of children because something doesn’t go their way. But in spite of the bad apples, it was also nice to read about the kids that chose to be friends with Auggie without caring about what other people thought.
Auggie doesn’t exactly have a smooth ride through fifth grade. At such a young age, the kids are unable to help being scared of him. But as time progresses, we see the small changes that occur in the dynamic between Auggie and the kids in his grade. Auggie grows completely as a person, he becomes less reliant on his family and he learns to stand up for himself. This in fact earns him the respect he deserved from the start.
Wonder is a beautiful story told from the perspectives of a few different people. I don’t usually like changing perspectives, but it worked well in this book because it really showed how different people in Auggie’s life reacted to him and what they really thought of him. Overall, Wonder is a truly heart-moving children’s book full of life and the life lesson to love people for who they are inside and not for their appearances.
I highly recommend this book, it’s an easy yet very profound read.
Thank you to TheReadingRoom for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.