Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
This is a tough book for me to review as it's written for middle grade readers, and I graduated from that group long, long ago. It was so highly reviewed that I decided to read it. I think the 4 and 5 star reviews may be from people that like happy endings and can better imagine how this book will be received by the intended audience than I was able to.
Things I liked about Wonder:
*August is an engaging, original protagonist.
*Palacio's use of different points of view. August's sister, Via, had an amazing exploration of what it was like to be the non-sick, normal kid in the family. She hit on all the aspects, positive and negative, avoidable and unavoidable. I actually found Olivia to be the most interesting character.
*Palacio's whole exploration of "beauty is only skin deep" and "it's what's on the inside that counts" from many angles. Even after reading Wonder, I'm still not sure what my reaction to a person like August would be, or what the best response might be.
Things I didn't like about Wonder:
*I wish there had been more detailed medical information. The lack of detail is most likely because it's not something the intended audience needs or wants, but I think more information would have added to a better understanding of exactly what August had gone through during his ten years. There is a mention of his 27 surgeries, and that he suffers from Treacher-Collins syndrome combined with some rare mystery syndrome, but a bit more background would have added to exactly what a wonder he was.
*I wish there had been more development of Julian. He played a big part in the story, but was the least explored.
*I wish the ending had not been so "happily ever after". There were pat resolutions on all fronts and this is not how things would have worked out.
*I listened to this as an audiobook, and the voice of August was horrendous. I almost gave up in the first ten minutes because it was so bad. Another reviewer describes the voice as sounding like "a slightly retarded Marge Simpson" and I completely agree.
*The cover! Is it meant to be slightly disturbing without too much attention to detail? It's certainly not a depiction of August with one eye and the presence of ears! It may seem like a silly detail, but covers are important to me, and I think think this book deserved a far better cover.
Overall, 3 stars for a book that takes an overly simplistic approach (even for middle grade readers) to a very complex subject.
I listen to books on my commute at 1.75 speed. I like umpiring books, corny sci-fi, religious, history, and whatever catches my eye.
This is a great listen. 8 hours went by way too quickly, as I finished this in 24 hours.
The last chapter is incredible. As a parent of a special needs child who has been in the situation of receiving recognition, I couldn't help but cry tears of joy.
I laughed, I cried. I invested myself in the lives of the people who tell the story and wish I could continue living through their eyes.
"When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind."
I have always been a fan of the stories where it is told by multiple people to get different perspectives to get the whole story and R.J. Palacio does this extremely well. While the main character, Auggie, starts and ends the book with his narrative, in between are different characters who play major parts in furthering his story and showing the change that happens when kindness becomes a part of life.
This story is about a child with severe facial deformity and his first year of school as a 5th grade middle schooler. I've always felt Middle School is the most cruel place on earth, something the book portrays well.
This book fleshes out the characters to the point that I was able to see myself in the parts. My insecurities portrayed in Auggie, my meanness and judgement of those different than I am in Julian, my apathy in the lives of the kids who stood on the sidelines, and my compassion in Summer and Jack. I feel I would be a better person if I live more like Summer.
This book is targeted to those who are going into middle school but adults will relive the past and take the points and see if they can improve their lives. I highly recommend this in an era of Facebook fights, comment section politics, and online bullying. Kindness can overcome the world.
Engaging, tender, uplifting
This is a great YA book. It is fabulous for reinforcing the attributes of kindness, courage, and friendship. All my 6th graders read it in 5th grade and they loved it.
Ranks as one of the most listened to in our household, adults and children.
Augie, for sure. He's honest, resilient and funny.
Too many to name. Some scenes are painful but the characters and readers make the story very listenable. The hero of this story is just so darn human and like able.
Probably something from the great quotes they use to begin each section.
Have listened to this story multiple times and will many more.
I thought Wonder was really...wonderful. It was right up there with other well-done audiobooks.
I enjoyed the way the story unraveled from different perspectives. Just when I was thinking, "now why did he react that way?" the narrator would shift and all would be revealed.
I really enjoyed Augie. How could you not love him? What a great tool for teaching kids about empathy and looking beyond someone's appearance. I thought he was a very believable kid. Not melodramatic, not pitiable, not too triumphant. Just relatable.
Fifth grade is not for the faint of heart.
Some of the narrators were stronger than others. I didn't like that some of them made Augie's voice sound like he was developmentally disabled.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is a very positive story with heart and love and friendship, family and community, fear and courage, hugs and kisses, dogs, and an uplifting ending. It is heartwarming, yet ultimately quite hollow. Stories that deeply move people, and make a real difference, must possess balance, with realistic fear or pain or loss to make the positive aspects truly powerful. This is a written for a young audience, but that does not justify saccharin. Kids can appreciate, and actually need, this balance.
There was one brief interlude by the character Miranda that borders on some realistic balance. I wish the rest of the book had the real heart glimpsed in these few pages.
I had hoped this would be a powerful, moving, and transformative story; instead it is a simplistic positive story.
R.J. Palacio has made a truly amazing book. I also didn't mind how they did August's voice. Some other people hated it, but I didn't mind at all!
This was one of the best books I have ever read. Was a bit disappointed with the actor that read auggies part she was a little to little for me. But overral it was a awesome book or as summer would say "Cool Beans"