Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Wonder

R.J. Palacio
Contemporary, Middle Grade

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.

This book has won so many awards and has been on the bestsellers lists for so long that of course I had to try it out- and I recommend you do, too.

Wonder was NOTHING like I expected it to be. First off, while I knew he was a kid, I hadn't comprehended that the book was going to be narrated by a 10 year old. This, of course, gave the novel a whole new flavor that I'm not used to- the last time I read a book told by a child younger than 12 was To Kill A Mockingbird.  

I was also not expecting the POV flips - of course, I spared you the surprise with the above Goodreads blurb. (As you can see, I did not do any research on Wonder.) The voices were beautiful and unique, and switched at exactly the right time - each character telling you what you needed to know about them to really be a part of the story.

Wonder was an emotional story - but not the kind that makes you cry. The kind the pulls you in and has you rooting for Auggie and Jack Will, adoring Via and Justin, sympathetic with Miranda. By the way, this book has a ton of crossover potential. Via, Justin and Miranda are in high school, while Auggie, Jack and Summer are in the 5th grade. Truthfully, I think this is a must read, no matter what age you are.

My only complaint was the slow exposition. I think the beginning could have been condensed to fewer chapters. Rating:


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