Thursday, May 3, 2012

review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

pub date: February 14, 2012
publisher: Random House Children's Book
pages: 313
source: for review at Kiss the Book
appeals: mulitple narrators, male protagonist, facial deformity, school, bullies, contemporary fiction, friendship, family
content: clean

I'm not sure why I picked this book up, since it's for a younger audience then I usually enjoy reading and I didn't know much about it beyond knowing it had gotten good reviews from professional reviewers.

But I'm glad I picked it up and I'm glad I then read it. It was amazing.

The story is told through 5 points of view, first person. Auggie has the largest 2 sections, the first and the last. But in the middle we get to read Auggie's story through four other people as well, his sister Via, Via's friend, and two of Auggie's friends at his new school. It gave a more complete picture of Auggie and really showed how remarkable this ten-year-old boy was. The multiple view points were one of the reasons I loved the book so much.

The novel is also extremely well-written and populated with real, flawed, and amazing characters. This is one of those books where the characters have these insights into their lives like a light bulb flashing on, but they're also insights into life in general. Just a really amazing book.

I am curious about the audience. Has anyone else read this book? Who do you think it's for? Auggie is ten, he's in fifth grade. But the level of reading for this book seems more like sixth or seventh. But would a six or seventh grader read this book about a fifth grader? Any opinons on that? I do think a teacher would need to direct students to this book. Doesn't seem like one they'd just pick up read on their own, and they should! It is a fantastic book.

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.

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