This is a truly incredible book. The reader, or listener, experiences a rollercoaster of emotions while walking through a journey with August. This book embodies what it is to be kind to others and to live a life that proves that good still exists in the world. I loved every second of this book, and it really brings the story home that each part is performed in a different character's voice.
I honestly didn't know this book was aimed towards children because if I did, I probably wouldn't have picked it up, regardless of the high ratings on Goodreads. I generally find children of all ages annoying, so powering through this book, which is told from multiple child perspectives, was quite an effort. That information is quite relevant to this review since people who aren't as averse to those creatures will probably enjoy it more since the story is somewhat geared towards pulling on your heartstrings and telling the story of a kid with a facial deformity going to school for the first time.
Even though it annoyed me, the fact that each perspective uses language that is consistent with the child doing the narrating was a nice touch and went a long way to making the whole story more believable. One issue with the audiobook version was that the narrator who did the protagonist's voice went all out in trying to replicate the gravelly voice the character had, which was especially painful to listen to. Regarding the multiple perspectives, I thought that while it was somewhat interesting to hear the thoughts of some of the fringe characters, those could easily have been left out since they didn't actually add anything to the story.
Now onto the main problem I had with this book. This is obviously aimed at children, so it tries very hard to get some moral lessons across, the main one of which is about being kind, especially to people less fortunate than you since they also have feelings. That's all well and good, but there were some other inadvertent lessons as well which were more disturbing. Firstly there was the case of the parents neglecting their other child because all their attention was spent on the one with all the issues. That can be somewhat forgiven, but not when the neglected child says she's ok with it (which I highly doubt any real child would be) and the parents keep ignoring her anyway when she needs someone to talk to. Then there's the issue of the parents being overprotective and not preparing their kid for the real world. What kind of parent doesn't talk to their child about the hardships they're likely to face due to the child's condition and give him some advice on how to deal with it? I could go on and on about all the dodgy lessons kids would pick up from this book, but I'll just mention one more that got on my nerves: happy endings. It's a bit of a weird one since this kind of book is guaranteed a happy ending, but it's very forced and unrealistic. The issue I have with it is that this could give hope to someone with similar issues that everyone will like them regardless of their deformity if they just keep being kind themselves. This is so implausible it's actually sad.
I suspect most children are probably too stupid to pick up on those inadvertent lessons and will hopefully ignore the ones they can tell are there to make the story have some drama. I honestly can't recommend this to anyone over ten and even then I'd feel the need to explain to them what the phrase "with a pinch of salt" means.
Retired teacher and interpreter. I read classic and contemporary fiction, as well as Mystery/Suspense/Horror, Fantasy&Sci-fi.
Really engrossing and hard not to love.
This is the story of a little boy who was born with an incredibly rare combination of genetic mutations that resulted in his being born with severe facial defects. Since birth, he's undergone surgery after surgery. He's been homeschooled this entire time for various reasons but he's not a "special needs" student. He just has an alarming appearance, until you get used to it.
So it's time to try school, and his loving and protective family enroll him in a good private school to begin the 5th grade.
This book is probably described as YA fiction, but it's subject matter is not treated childishly. With perspective shifting between the main character, and his friends and family members, this book deals very realistically with the varying feelings and reactions of both a kid being seen as a "freak" or "deformed", of the people who know and love him, and of the community in which he lives.
It's not what you might expect though. It's funny, raw, touching, ugly, sad, sweet...and ultimately supports my view, that while there are always a few jerks in every crowd, for the most part people are good, and want to be loving and kind.
In addition, the narration is just fantastic!
Because this story is written from multiple character perspectives and touches on universal themes I found it tapped into a deep place within, transcending its genre. It is the type of book that inspires me to dig deeper and be a kinder, more accepting person, and to be more like August, to stand complete in my own inherent humanity, loyal to that which I seek in return. August reminded me of a younger version of whip smart underdog, Owen Meany from John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany. I hope this beautiful story stretches hearts and minds far and wide!
what a wonderful story you have me in tears a few times and have me laughing a lot of times
I am a 12 year old kid and I LOVED this book. I thought it was soooo much fun listening to all the different voices. The story line was also fun and exiting and never did I think was boring or dull. I WONDER gives one a WONDERFUL reason to alway be nice and caring. After reading this book I needed to read the 3 next ones. And without a doubt the the other the book were AMAZING. I definitely encourage you to read the book wonder and I know you will LOVE it. 🤓
The tracks are not aligned with the chapters in the book. Using this audio book to teach a class, it was difficult to find where we had left off.