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)
Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.
As an adult who works extensively with developmentally and physically disabled children and adults... I applaud this book. Simply but beautifully told account of Auggie, who with his facial anomalies leaves the cocoon of homeschooling to attend 5th grade. Well rounded point of views help the reader to understand how this disability affects friends, siblings, parents and teachers. Uplifting, clean read with a few sad spots and some really funny parts too. Nicely done!
Audible editor and listener. Lover of fiction, thrillers, celebrity memoirs, and quirky teen novels.
This book warmed my heart. Auggie's character is honest and loveable, showing courage and perception well beyond his years. Wonder develops through the viewpoints of multiple characters - each captured through a unique and fitting voice - adding depth and personality to a beautifully written story of family, friendship, acceptance, and the never-ending struggle to fit in.
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
Firstly, I'd like to address the narration. It seems a few readers were very put off by the female rendition of Augie s voice. At first, it seemed to me like an odd choice. However, as the book progressed, I got accustomed to it. I took into account that Augie had multiple facial deformities, including a cleft palate that was not yet completely repaired. He was also very small for his age. Under any circumstances, his speech/voice would have been somewhat odd and not entirely normal. I came to look forward to his chapters and listening to him narrate. So, for me, it was a positive, and I really enjoyed the narrator's interpretation of his voice.
As for the story, I loved everything about it. I really miss it now that I am done and keep wishing there was more. I actually miss Augie! This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages; it is not just for middle school kids. I really liked hearing the viewpoints of the different characters and felt the author was successful in giving them each their own chapters. This book has so many good messages and it should go a long way in fostering understanding and tolerance of differences. It would be wonderful if it was required reading for preteen students. It brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes and it had a very feel-good ending that I think was realistic and believable.
A highly recommended informative and fun listen!
I was prepared for another "kid bullied, kid triumphs" kind of story. This was much more nuanced. Auggie brings out the best in those who are open to it, while those who aren't become ever more isolated and stuck. Love wins.
The performance kept my attention.
The intonation of the mother was sometimes too patronizing or condescending. The sister was dead on. Auggies voice reflects impairment, but could become too grating in long spells. None of it was enough to keep me from recommending the book in any form to many friends. Thinking about making it a reading project for my confirmation class!
This is a beautiful story. An amazing story for any youth to read. It could also teach a lot of adults a thing or two about empathy as well.
I really like how a boy so 'ugly', could spread so much joy and love. Amazing overall.
However, I must say that the choice to have the boy's voice read in a raspy whisper was an absolutely TERRIBLE choice. Why wouldn't they just use a normal young sounding male? It was extremely annoying, and it made him sound like a whiny baby. The writing wasn't bad at all, but the narration was just dreadful.
Kate Rudd was amazing as always, and she saved the entire book for me. 5 star for her. 1 star for the other. 3 star overall.
Elementary Teacher, Coffee Lover, Cross-Stitcher, Audiobook Addict
Wonder is a story that all middle school children should be reading. As an elementary teacher, I can tell you that it doesn't do justice to the occasional savagery of young adults, but it's still a close enough approximation to be a valuable tale.
The trouble with this recording is the narrator who performs the role of August. August is in many ways a naive and overprotected character, but the narrator's vocal presentation is not nuanced and represents him as more infantile than I understood him to be. Indeed, I'm not sure this male role should have been performed by a woman: I found her attempt at a prepubescent male child's voice to be grating and unpleasant to listen to. The narrator who performed Jack's character was much more believable as a city kid; indeed, all the other character performances (some of which may have been performed by the same narrator who performs as August, but using a different voice, thankfully) were excellent. If you can tolerate this troublesome character representation, then you'll enjoy this book. I gritted my teeth and plowed through the initial sections until the narrators switched, and I'm glad I did---the story's worth reading to its conclusion.
My only complaint: the cartoonish narration detracted from this otherwise sublime and poignant story. A wonderful book– one that everyone should read.
I love to read!
If a teen (or anyone) reads Thirteen Reasons Why and is feeling like suicide is an option for severe depression, that person needs to read Wonder. Auggie shows amazing bravery and strength all through this story. He has to deal with so much fear, anger, rejection, and ridicule all because of something completely outside of his control. He has friends and family who come alongside him and support him throughout his experiences. The ending was extremely positive for all of the involved characters!
I am a middle school reading teacher who loves to show students the wonder and joy of reading.
I have only listened to this book so I cannot judge but the audio book was fabulous.
August of course. What a courageous soul. He makes you want to do better for others.
I love when his classmates come to his rescue in the woods. That was a very powerful moment.
August the boy who taught others to be humane.
Super book for girls and boys. My reluctant reader of a nephew (13) read the book and loved it. It has something for everyone and gives you great perspective.
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.
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