Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Wonder by RJ Palacio
January 3, 2013
315 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction (but for everyone!)
Source: Personal purchase
You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Wonder is one of those special books that can be enjoyed by all generations. I read this aloud with my children, ages 7-14, and all of us were eager to continue the story each day. This is one of those books everyone should read. I highly recommend it!
Wonder is the story of August Pullman, an ordinary ten-year-old boy at heart, who was born with a severe facial abnormality and has had numerous surgeries. He has been homeschooled up to this point, where his parents have decided to put him in private school. He has spent his life being judged by others in regard to his appearance, but has also been protected in a sense by his family from even greater exposure. So we take this journey with August and those in his life as he is exposed to the kindness and cruelties at the hands of children and adults alike. The topic of this story is already quite compelling and special. But beyond that, the author's approach, not just using August's perspective, but also utilizing perspectives from his sister, friends, and acquaintances, creates a touching, well-rounded journey through August's first year at private school, and is a story that will stay with you.
My family and I were touched by the importance of this book in so many regards on how we treat each other, how we judge each other, and how our actions reflect on our children's actions. We had some wonderful discussions and additionally had the opportunity to meet the author, which was a real treat for my kids and me. I must repeat myself and say, I highly recommend Wonder.

Additionally, the newest version of Wonder contains The Julian Chapter, and I recommend reading that as well. It is a great addition to the story and gives new perspective on Julian and his outcome. It's also quite touching and made reading aloud quite difficult at one point because I was trying to not become a blubbering mess in front of my children. Trust me - Read it.


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