Author Website |
Release Date: February 14th, 2012 | Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Realism, Contemporary, Bully | Pages: 313
This is one of those MG books that has been a blinding light on my radar. I had a classmate–who isn’t really a reader–recommend this read to me last fall after she read it because she said it changed her life. A non-reader changed by a book–at 21 years old!
That’s the power of story I’m talking about.
I can’t believe I waited this long to read it though. Seriously. Hands down my new favorite MG read. Ever.
I checked out a copy from my library. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.
August Pullman–known as Auggie–was born with a facial deformity that has kept him home schooled until now. Not only is he going to be the new kid at Beecher Prep this year, but he’ll be the new 5th grader entering middle school for the first time. He knows that middle school is already a hard place for kids, but that really, he’s just an ordinary boy, even if he is the new kid.
So his biggest trouble is going to be convincing his classmates that his extraordinary face has nothing to do with his ordinariness.
Really, he’s just like them.
5 Reasons Why This Book is Marvelous!
- Where do I even start with this story? Every single thing about it is marvelous! How about if I just start at the beginning–because that’s where I fell. I seriously fell in love with Auggie from the very first line: “I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old.” My heart was just his. Then he goes on to talk about how he does ordinary things like ride his bike and play ball–but that he also makes other ordinary kids run away screaming. AND my heart drops from my chest.
What a fabulous little boy. Going into the story we know Auggie is different, but it isn’t until later on that we understand just how different. No matter his difference, Auggie has this little heart of gold that I simply want to applaud him for and scoop him up in a giant hug, telling him how ordinary, perfect, and wonderful he is.
- Palacio understands how to write a character. I did not realize it until the first shift that the story actually changes narrators. Wonder is split into several perspectives–Auggie, Via, Summer, Jack, and a few others. I love, love, love, how as the characters shift, the timelines of each voice overlap just a little bit so we are seeing the same happenings from different perspectives, but then Palacio moves the voice forward, simultaneously moving the story forward. We hear each character’s thought on the situation, but also begin to understand their hearts and their actions. Each character has such depth to them that I felt as if they were right here in the room with me–or kids I knew. I am absolutely floored at the realistic personalities of Wonder‘s characters, and this story is probably the most realistic novel I have picked up in a long time.
- The chapters are extremely short, as in no more than four pages for a chapter, so I felt as if this was a faster read than most. I actually finished it in one day, but then again I’m a super fast reader. But I like the idea of the shorter chapters because it makes the book accessible to everyone. And it’s perfect for out-loud, classroom or bedtime reading.
- Auggie’s teacher, Mr. Browne, has precepts that he writes on the board at the beginning of every month. Rules or just great sayings that we should all live by. Each one is a pretty deep and endearing quote, and as a lover of words, I really like how he stresses the importance of them. He requests that each student send him a postcard in the summer with their own precept, and it makes me want to do this with my students. The power of words becomes an important lesson in this story–and I cannot stress enough how impactful I think this book could be on anyone of any age.
- This is most definitely a book full of middle grade humor, but beyond that, it is a book that has a very strong anti-bullying message. Obviously, Auggie is different than the rest of his classmates, and though there are many times we can laugh at his jokes or laugh with his sense of humor, there are many times where my heart just broke for him. The realities of middle grade meanness are prevalent in this book–but the sad truth is, the meanness expressed in this story isn’t always from kids. Unfortunately, Palacio captured the meanness of the world as well. This is definitely a story that will make readers think about the world we live in and hopefully challenge them to choose kindness. To change the world with how we treat others, and love others, and befriend others. To simply see everyone else as a wonder.