Audie Award Nominee, Children's Titles for Ages 8-12, 2013
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school - until now. He’s about to enter fifth 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 crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.
©2012 R. J. Palacio (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“Wonder is a book with such a big, wide heart - it shows how we are all fragile, imperfect, and perfectly beautiful creatures. A wonderful novel by a wonder of a writer!” (Julia Alvarez, author of Return to Sender, Before We Were Free, Finding Miracles, and the Tía Lola Stories)
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 know what it's like to be treated lesser than. I wonder if this is a true story. I was disfigured after a fire so I empathize so much with August. You will be moved by his courage.
Wonderful message at any age! Characters are perfect. All of my grandchildren will get a copy of this book. Thank you Ms Palacio for giving us this timely story.
I am not really great with reviews since I like everything and suspend reality quickly but I do it anyways. Umpire and classic books yay
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.
Jack Will for sticking up for Augie when most others hated him
Perseverance through childhood challenges
Great book on a child who is severely deformed and hated by many, but ends up with a couple of close friends who stick by him. Great for pre-teens and teens in learning that differences in others doesn't mean they can't be successful or loving and should not be treated differently. They have feelings too.
A little "younger" than I expected but well done.
Most interesting : Augie's growth throughout the book
Least: The bullies
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
I found myself rooting for Auggie in this story. Auggie has a severe facial deformity and is about to go from homeschooling to the 5th grade in a real school. This book reminded me of the right ways to treat people who are different from us. It reiterated the lesson you learn as a child from your parents, to not stare and not treat people differently just because they are different than we are. This was a beautiful story about all the obstacles Auggie faces and how he overcomes them in the end. I enjoyed listening to the many character's perspectives in the book and glad that it wasn't just told from Auggie's voice. Also, I enjoyed having 3 narrators as it enhanced the listening experience. Even though this is a young adult book, I think readers and listeners of all ages would enjoy this story.
Although "Wonder" is written for a younger audience with a child narrator's point of view, the story is compelling for any age listener as it hits home on the issues of image and acceptance and the prejudice against people who are not physically perfect. The author does a nice job of telling the story without preaching, and the characters mature along with the story. The use of several different points of view is excellent, and each individual narrator adds depth to the overall plot. It's not the type of book I normally read but I'm glad I picked it up and would recommend it as a good listen.
Wonderfully written story about a boy who is different told from the viewpoints of various characters. One character tells his own story, another is a sister who has always stuck up for her beloved brother while secretly wishing for a different experience in her own life, another is a friends voice (or is he really a friend.) The narrators each did a great job of defining these different characters through their heartfelt reading.
There were many who each had a different degree of impact on this story, but the main character had such a wit and sarcasm in the face of come difficult barriers in his life.
They all did a great job of bringing their character to life.
At times I wanted to shake the characters, at others I laughed out loud. I was very touched at other moments and nearly shed a tear.
For anyone who works with students with various needs and wants to hear (in their own words) what it might like to walk in their shoes for a day. Sometimes in education, we miss the subtleties that go on between our students and this book reminds you to keep an eye out for the underdog and that your words can have an impact.
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