“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
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?
I don’t know why I held off on reading this for so long. Maybe I wasn’t sure that it wasn’t going to live up to the hype? Well, it did live up to the hype. I was surprised when I started reading that we got to hear from many narrators. I was irked at first because this is Auggie’s story. Why do we need to hear from other people? As the narrators came in, I began to understand why we needed to hear from them. Auggie is a wonderful boy but he is still only one person. He can only present one point of view.
Via, Summer, and Jack all share with us their perspectives about Auggie. Via has always been a great big sister. You can see that she truly loves him. In high school, she wants to be known for being herself and not Auggie’s sister. Can you blame her though? Summer was a big surprise. It was great that she befriended Auggie on her own and found out he was a great guy. I know when I read books like this I always imagine I’d be someone like Summer. I’d become friends with someone like Auggie and not let everyone else bother me. It’s easy to imagine that as an adult because I know it’s the right thing to do but it’s easy to forget how much peer pressure hurts. Jack was a bit of the opposite of Summer. He befriended Auggie because he was asked to and then he let peer pressure get to him. In the end, he redeemed himself because he learned how good of a friend Auggie could be. Even minor characters like Justin and Miranda put in their perspectives. All of these characters paint a big picture of who Auggie is and show how he affects everyone’s life.
I thought the story was solidly enjoyable. For most of the story, I thought it was good. Not bad but not great either. Towards the end, things started to come together and I really started to enjoy it. Some of the story was a bit predictable but I didn’t mind too much.
The bottom line? Very good!