by R.J. Palacio
Series: Wonder #1
Published: February 14, 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Format: Hardcover (315 pages)
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.
All I could think while I was reading Wonder was, “I am so glad I’m not in middle school anymore.”
Wonder is about a boy named August who wants to be accepted. He thinks that the only reason he isn’t ordinary is becasue no one else sees him that way. If everyone saw August the way he sees himself, he would be ordinary regardless of what he looks like. I had never thought about it that way. August was relatable because his story felt eerily similar to my junior high experience. I think we all on some level experience that feeling of not being accepted – especially in middle school. I wanted to tell him that kids without facial deformities can feel that way, too!
Just as I was starting to get bored of August’s perspective, it started to switch to other perspectives. I wasn’t bored because I didn’t like August’s character. After I got to know August, I was more interested in how other people reacted to how August looked. I’m glad I got to see that from lots of different people.
His sister, Via, loved him very much but had similar feelings to August – she wanted to blend in instead of being “August’s sister.” Via also makes a good point that everyone tries so hard to make August feel normal when he’s not. It’s a different way to think about accepting people for who they are. Via was my favorite perspective. It was such a realistic portrayal of trying to deal with something like that.
My favorite moment in the whole book is what I call the “Dumbledore” moment when the principal tells August “Of course we knew what was going on.” It made me laugh because I remember thinking adults were so clueless, too.
The theme of the novel was “Be kinder than necessary.” It managed to make you feel that way without being preachy about it. Everyone had moments of feeling left out and moments of kindness. My favorite act of kindness was when August left his favorite stuffed animal behind to keep his mom company. This book is such a beautiful, simple reminder that you should always choose to be kind.
What was your favorite perspective in Wonder?
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