Book Review: Wonder by R.J Palacio

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. 

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th 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 written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels. (From

Wow. Over the two days I was reading this book I went on an emotional roller coaster, which took me through almost every feeling possible. I laughed, I cried, my heart ached, I detested, I loved, I felt despair, hope and pride all through the pages of a book telling the story of one small boy.
The book begins from Auggie’s viewpoint. He has a very matter of fact insight to his condition and his tone is refreshingly honest and brave.  There isn’t a person alive whose heart he couldn’t creep into and steal and I’m in awe at how completely believable and authentic the author has made him. Quite often books written from a young child’s perspective fail to loose the adultness of the author. Not the case here at all. 
The book shifts view point several times and we also get an insight into the lives of his sister and friends. I really like how RJ Palacio kept the viewpoints to those of kids. I think it gave the book a more honest poignancy that wouldn’t come from an adult. I particularly found his sister Via’s story touching. She struggles with feelings of jealousy at times when it’s difficult for her to get her mum’s attention but with such guilt and love for August, my heart went out to her.

Wonder is a book that truly shows the best and worst in human nature. At one point I was so angry I slammed it shut. Yet another section made me feel so uplifted at the strength of human spirit I actually shed tears. Mostly, this is a book that will strike a chord and make you really think.  Adults and kids alike need to read it. Everyone will be touched and take something away from it. Wonder is exactly that. A wonderful book that comes highly recommended. Go right now and pre-order. You won’t regret it.

Published by Bodley Head (Random House) 1st March 2012 (UK)
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.

Similar books: The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon and My Sister Lives On the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher both speak with authentic young voices coping with difficult situations. 

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